Ahead of their appearance at Sounds New next month, I put Three Questions to cellist with the Brodsky Quartet, Jacqueline Thomas.
Tell us about your ensemble
JT: The Brodsky Quartet has been in existence for over 40 years – we started when we were children – and we’ve travelled the world performing and recording some of the most beautiful music ever written: the incredibly rich string quartet repertoire. However, we grew up in the 70s, 80s, 90s, and grew to appreciate all genres of music through the decades since we began. We’ve always had an open mind to all types of music and we started at a young age making arrangements of pop and jazz songs so we could play those too. This stood us in good stead much later when we worked with the likes of Elvis Costello, Björk, Sting and Paul McCartney. We did ground-breaking work with these fantastic musicians and others, paving the way for what is now a universally accepted merging of styles and genres between classical musicians and artists from all disciplines.
What excites you about contemporary music ?
JT: In our world, the term Contemporary Music tends to frighten audiences who may be more comfortable with classical and romantic works. But let’s remember that Contemporary simply means current, now… so Mozart wrote contemporary music too! For me, the exciting thing about music of the 21st century is that literally anything goes. There are no rules or creative movements that simply must be adhered to in order to avoid commercial suicide – these days writers and performers mix it up shamelessly and joyfully and audiences seem open to everything. Especially young people, which is something to be celebrated – in my experience they will listen to anything with an open mind, thanks to the influence of people like John Tavener, Florence Welch, Rufus Wainwright, Plan B, Errollyn Wallen, and many others.
What can we expect from your performance at Sounds New in May ?
JT: It’s a work in progress at time of writing, so I’m still discovering it for myself. It’s a really fascinating re-working of some of the music of Robert Wyatt, merging styles across string quartet and electro-acoustic ambient textures. It should be a very beautiful, exciting and moving experience for us all. I’m very much looking forward to it myself!
Find out more about the Brodsky Quartet’s concert at Sounds New here.