Violinist Chloë Hanslip is Principal Artist at this year’s Hertfordshire Festival of Music. Here she shares her musical insights and inspirations, and reminds us that being a musician is not just about practicing……
Who or what inspired you to pursue a career in music and who or what have been the most important influences on your musical life and career?
I grew up in a very musical household – my mother had been a ballet teacher, my sister was a pianist studying at RAM when I was born, and my Grandmother, who lived with us, was a piano teacher so music was everywhere! As I grew older my teachers obviously had a huge influence on my playing, as did having the opportunity to play for, and work with, incredible musicians such as Mariss Jansons and Ida Haendel.
What have been the greatest challenges of your career so far?
Although there have been some challenges and the change from being perceived as a prodigy to being accepted as a whole musician is notoriously complicated, I think that I have been quite lucky. I have also always tried to focus on the positives and to grow, use and learn from any of the less pleasant aspects!
Which performances/recordings are you most proud of?
Well, I am my own harshest critic (I think most musicians are!) and I’m always finding things that I would like to do differently…. that being said, the Beethoven cycle that Danny Driver and I performed and recorded a few years ago is something that I am so happy to have been able to do.
Which particular works do you think you perform best?
When I was younger my heart was with Romantic music and I loved playing hugely virtuosic works. I still really enjoy performing those works but have been glad to expand my horizons over the years to include everything from Baroque to Contemporary! I love having the opportunity to bounce from one genre to the next in quick succession and think each one helps to inform the others, so hopefully it is a never ending circle of all works getting better each time I perform them.
What do you do off stage that provides inspiration on stage?
I go hiking and walking in nature and the mountains as much as possible! Also, now that I have a one year old, the reminder to look at things with fresh eyes definitely also inspires.
How do you make your repertoire choices from season to season?
For works with orchestras it’s largely based on what I’m invited to perform! For recitals Danny and I will discuss what works we haven’t done that we would like to add to our repertoire and then we choose contrasting pieces to land on programmes that have interest and flow to them.
Do you have a favourite concert venue to perform in and why?
My favourite concert venue is whichever one I’m performing in at that moment! Seriously though, there is something very special about Wigmore Hall.
What do you feel needs to be done to grow classical music audiences/listeners?
There are so many wonderful initiatives out there that I’m not sure I can add to them, but I think exposure to and demystifying the classical music world is key.
What is your most memorable concert experience?
I’ve been so lucky to have many wonderful experiences, but performing at the Proms for the first time is definitely up there at the top!
As a musician, what is your definition of success?
Oh gosh, without wanting to sound self-aggrandising, if I can give just one person joy with my playing then that’s success to me.
What do you consider to be the most important ideas and concepts to impart to aspiring musicians?
Stay true to yourself! And don’t just practice – go for walks, to museums, to shops….and listen to everything. There has to be balance, and life informs the way we approach music as much as music informs the way we approach life.
Chloë Hanslip performs at this year’s Hertfordshire Festival Music, with Hertfordshire Festival Orchestra and conductor Tom Hammond, and in recital with pianist Danny Driver. She will also be giving masterclasses at Queenswood School, Hatfield, as part of the Festival. Full details here
Chloë Hanslip (b. 1987) has already established herself as an artist of distinction on the international stage. Prodigiously talented, she made her BBC Proms debut at fourteen and her US concerto debut at fifteen and has performed at major venues in the UK (Royal Festival Hall, Wigmore Hall), Europe (Vienna Musikverein, Hamburg Laeiszhalle, Paris Louvre and Salle Gaveau, St Petersburg Hermitage) as well as Carnegie Hall, Metropolitan Arts Space in Tokyo and the Seoul Arts Centre.