Who or what inspired you to take up double bass and pursue a career in music?
I put my hand up for everything but the only thing left by the time I was chosen was the double bass – then I saw it and thought “cool, I like big toys!”
Who or what were the most important influences on your musical life and career?
Guilini, working with Janine Jansen and Julian Rachlin and Mischa Maisky
What have been the greatest challenges of your career so far?
Playing a concerto with the Bavarian Radio Orchestra
Which performance/recordings are you most proud of?
My CD ‘Vertigo’ and the recordings I made with Janine [Jansen]
Which particular works do you think you perform best?
Hard to say, I enjoy Bach the most but love the colours of the Impressionists… also love British composers like Elgar, Tippet and particularly Walton….
How do you make your repertoire choices from season to season?
Easy – I play what I love…
Do you have a favourite concert venue to perform in and why?
Fairfield Halls, St. John’s Smith Square: they have the best acoustics – mind, you the worst back stage areas too!!
Favourite pieces to perform? Listen to?
Impossible to answer really but if pushed…
to play – Bottesini
to listen to Tartini, Bach, Mendelssohn, Tchaikovsky, Brahms…
Who are your favourite musicians?
Jakob Karani (cellist), Torleif Thedeen, Janine Jansen, Julian Rachlin, Mischa Maisky, Alfred Brendel…. the list goes on and on and on….
What is your most memorable concert experience?
Playing Principal Bass for Harnoncourt in the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra in their hall – ‘Scenes from Faust’ with sublime solo voices.
What do you consider to be the most important ideas and concepts to impart to aspiring musicians?
Enthusiasm and love for free feeling… music is what feelings sound like at the end of the day…. technique, rhythm, intonation, all have to be a given and must never get in the way.
Where would you like to be in 10 years’ time?
Still playing but conducting a lot more – it’s the most fun you can have with your clothes on and I feel the most alive ever on the podium…(when things are going right!!)
What is your idea of perfect happiness?
Just to be contented. Can’t be happy all the time. If you’re never sad how would you know when you’re happy?
Being with Jon, no money worries and free to travel….
What is your most treasured possession?
The ring Jon gave me and a belt buckle made by a Russian designer “Rudaskin”. Not to mention my instruments and my bows… Wish I had Steinway to practice on though…..
What is your present state of mind?
Up and down, to be honest, but also tired and stressed which probably isn’t helping…. need a holiday!
On 20th June Stacey Watton premieres a new work by Julian Philips for viola and double bass with Virginia Slater (viola) and the Orchestra of the Swan, conducted by David Curtis, commissioned to mark OOTS’ 21st Anniversary.