Matt began by commenting:As an undergraduate student, I think it can be difficult to have a perspective of how important and formative time spent working with good ensembles can be. I now look back at my time in Yorkshire Bach Choir with great fondness. To have been part of such high calibre music making as a 19/20 year old student was a real privilege and I owe a lot to the experience I gained whilst singing in YBC.
Have you had the opportunity to return to York since you left a few years ago?I've come back to sing on quite a few occasions under different guises. With the Sixteen, I Fagiolini and as a soloist. It's always a joy to be here and see old friends and familiar faces and places.
Musically, when do you feel the happiest?At the end of most concerts! That's not true [...] I spent a lot of my twenties worrying about how to get better at singing, how to get the better work, how to make enough money etc. It's a tough and hugely competitive world for a young singer. In the last few years I've taken a step back from this view and taken time to enjoy the other things in life that aren't music.
More specifically I recently performed Britten's War Requiem for the first time. It was one of my most satisfying musical experiences to date. Also, working on my debut solo album, choosing repertoire, booking musicians etc. was a hugely rewarding and educational experience.
Which living musician do you most admire?Hmm…. Difficult….The work of Mr Justin Bieber is underrated I feel.
Seriously, who is the composer (dead or alive) that you’d most like to meet?J S Bach (obviously).
As a youngster, did you ever have a eureka moment performing a certain piece of music?I have very strong memories of first performing Monteverdi's Vespers with YBC. I'd never heard music like it before. The intricacy, the power of the extended cadences, and the simple beauty of the monody. It switched a switch in me somewhere. I have gone on to perform it probably more than any other work.
When you’re not practising or performing, how else do you like to spend your time?Music can be all consuming and I've found this isn't always helpful. Taking a step back can help focus the mind. I've not been happier to be working in music than since I adopted this approach. I'm a keen follower of wildlife conservation and all things 'biodiverse' and green! I love to go walking in the wilder places we have in the UK, usually with my camera.
What is your most treasured possession?My wife [Matt laughs]! She would hate that I've written that. No? Let's go with our cat, Florence. Although she owns me in truth. As does my wife.
What keeps you awake at night?Often it's the music of the next or most recent concert I've been involved in.
What would your super power be?Constantly reliable vocal cords.
If you could go back in time, where would you go?London 25,000 years ago. When Lions, Hyenas, Hippos and Elephants roamed the land where London now lies. That would be pretty cool. I wouldn't stay for very long!
Who would you invite to your dream dinner party?J. S. Bach, Sir David Attenborough, Scarlett Johansson, Ronnie O'Sullivan, Dr Alan Rabinowitz ( look him up, he has quite a story), Jimmy Hendrix, Nigel Farage, Jo Brand…. yep, that should provide some interesting conversation!
We look forward to hearing Matt singing ‘Comfort ye’ and kicking off what will certainly be a very special performance of Messiah with Yorkshire Bach Choir, Yorkshire Baroque Soloists alongside a stellar line up of soloists.
|York Early Music Christmas Festival|
Tickets are available in advance at the National Centre for Early Music by clicking here: bit.ly/1wBSQ63
The York Early Music Festival runs from 5-14 December and further details can be found here: http://www.ncem.co.uk/xmas
Further details on Matthew Long including details of his debut solo disc Songs of These Isles with the London Philharmonic Orchestra, accompanist Malcolm Martineau and guitarist Rufus Miller can be found on his website: http://www.matthew-long.co.uk/