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Steven Devine: Speed Interview

Tue May 27 2014

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On 12 June, Steven Devine will direct the OAE in Gamechangers: Mildly Rude?  Here we spoke with him about Bach and The Butterfly Effect

How did you first get into music?
My parents bought an upright piano and when I was 6 and I just took to it.

When did you realise you wanted to make music your career?
I don’t think I ever considered an alternative.

What attracted you to working with the OAE?
I stood in at short notice for an American Tour of the Brandenburg Concertos and I loved the energy, commitment, precision and questioning of the group.  When I was offered the job, it was a very easy decision to make!

What’s been one of the highlights of your career so far?
Conducting at the Albert Hall is certainly up there. Solo concerts on certain historic instruments.

If you could only perform the music of one composer for the rest of your life, who would it be?
As a keyboard player it would have to be Bach – the perfect mixture of precision and dancing.

When you’re not busy performing, what do you do in your spare time?
We tend to shut the door and enjoy just being at home and in the garden with good food and drink.

What do you fear the most?
Not being able to think clearly.

What was the last good film you saw?
I don’t get to the cinema very much but a film on TV is the ideal way to unwind of an evening.  The last film that really got into my head was The Butterfly Effect.

If you could choose to work in a different profession, what would it be and why?
I’m secretly a nerd so I’d like to do something in technology or computer programming .

If you could have dinner with any person (dead or alive) who would choose?
Handel.  He was a renowned gourmet so the food would be good (I’d let him choose the venue) and the conversation would be fascinating if a little robust.

What’s the most obscure album you own?
Most of my collection is obscure!  Carillons in the Low Countries?

What are you listening to at the moment?
Mozart Requiem with Barbara Bonney among the soloists.

Which book do you think everyone should read?
Travels with Charley by John Steinbeck; a great writer making sense of his country and other people.  Life-affirming.

What one piece of advice would you give to aspiring musicians?
Be respectful of everybody; value all your colleagues.

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