Who or what inspired you to take up the violin and pursue a career in music?
To be honest there was no great epiphany or moment of inspiration, it just always felt like I was meant to be making music – exactly how and in what form is still wonderfully open … tomorrow is a new day and will bring with it new inspiration.
Who or what were the most important influences on your musical life and career?
Everything and everyone we encounter seeps into our being and becomes a part of our fabric, not least musical. When we give a name to the ‘most important’ influences there is always the danger that we forget the ‘very minor influences’, whose accumulation pave the indispensable road. Having said this, there are two remarkably special people who have shaped my playing and my life, and to whom I am eternally grateful: my mentor and teacher Nina Balabina and – on a more ethereal plane – Mahatma Gandhi.
What have been the greatest challenges of your career so far?
Not to pursue one.
Which performance/recordings are you most proud of?
Life has taught me not to look back but rather, in the spirit of forgetfulness, learn to live in the present, so I hope you do not mind if I pass on this question.
Which particular works do you think you perform best?
More than anything I feel at home performing contemporary music or music from the last century, often in unusual and improvisatory combinations with older music.
How do you make your repertoire choices from season to season?
I love having a large variety of works during a season both in style and genre. I try and create a balance between works I have played many times and into which I can delve deeper; new repertoire pieces; newly commissioned works; and finally works that will challenge different aspects of my playing and musical personality and which will hopefully open me up to new musical spaces.
Do you have a favourite concert venue to perform in and why?
For me it is more than anything the energy of the audience that makes a concert special. Therefore I love performing in any space that encourages a bubbling sharing of energies. Then, there are of course the ‘great’ halls that have their unique aura, filled with the sounds of past legends – it is a great privilege to be able to stand and add ones own little sounds to such spaces.
Favourite pieces to perform? Listen to?
My tastes are rather eclectic and vary from day to day, from season to season. Some days I love the melancholic strains of Byrd and Josquin, on other days the romantic drama of Strauss, while Bach is always close at hand to cleanse the soul. I may also get immersed in the epic melodrama of Muse or the contemplative strains of Indian music.
Who are your favourite musicians?
Oh dear, this could be a very long list! Two personalities that immediately come to mind our David Oistrakh and Ravi Shankar.
What is your most memorable concert experience?
Playing to monks in the Himalayas.
What do you consider to be the most important ideas and concepts to impart to aspiring musicians?
Always LOVE every minute of what you are doing and learn to totally immerse yourself in the process, not worrying too much about where it will lead and what the resulting outcome will be.
What is your idea of perfect happiness?
I experience perfect happiness when I get so lost in what I am doing, which happens most often when I am performing, that all time – past and future – seems to converge on the singularity of the present moment, bringing with it a surreal combination of overwhelming peace and the feeling of ecstasy.
Hugo Ticciati performs with Dame Evelyn Glennie at Kings Place on 27th April, and directs the Festival O/MODERNT in Stockholm from 10th to 16th June, centred on Handel and the Art of Borrowing.
Hugo Ticciati is a violinist with a uniquely intellectual approach to his work, incorporating aspects of literature, philosophy, spirituality and meditation. He embraces the world of contemporary music, collaborating with composers such as Sven-David Sandström, Albert Schnelzer, Anders Hillborg, Djuro Zivkovic, Leonardo Coral, Andrea Tarrodi, Tobias Broström, Thomas Jennefelt, Sergey N. Evtushenko, Esaias Järnegard, Wijnand van Klaveren. In the coming seasons he will be performing world premières of concertos dedicated to him in Europe, Asia, and North and South America. Hugo also loves devising concerts and events that combine music with dance, literature and more obscure arts such as kinetic painting and rock balancing.
Last season’s highlights included concertos by Bach, Mozart, Prokofiev, Schnittke, Hartmann, Shchedrin, Piazzolla, Auerbach, Glass, Lutosławski, Takemitsu and world premieres of concertos by Tobias Broström, Sergey N. Evtushenko and Albert Schnelzer in venues including Carnegie Hall, Mariinsky Theatre Concert Hall, Chicago Symphony Hall and King’s Place. He also curated a series of concerts at the Wigmore Hall and the Muziekgebouw aan ‘t IJ, Amsterdam.
(Photo credit: Marco Borggreve)