Ahead of our ‘Birth of the symphony’ concerts in London and Cambridge next week we caught up with our principal violist, Jane Rogers. We asked her about next week’s programme, playing with AAM and what she loves about playing the viola. Here’s what she had to say –
I first became aware of the viola whilst listening to a string quartet recital on the radio and immediately fell in love with its warm and generous sound. I was five years old and had no idea of the name of this mysterious instrument in the middle, but knew that it wasn’t a violin or ‘cello. My parents did some research and I was offered violin lessons, being then too small to play the viola. I’m proud to say that I refused point blank!
Eventually, aged 12 my dream came true and I started viola lessons, quickly becoming the only violist in our Youth Orchestra. It was me against twenty eight violins and the conductor was continually nagging me to play louder to make up for the lack of section behind me — to those who know my playing well, all I can say is that this explains it all.
I think that, as with other instruments whose role is mainly to accompany, our job as violists is to focus on beauty of tone in order to encourage those around us to shine more brightly. It’s such a wonderful feeling to be in the middle of the texture. Being a violist himself, Bach really understood this — I feel a special connection with his Sinfonia in next week’s programme. As with all his cantatas I find it incredibly spiritually uplifting.
AAM is very fortunate in having Richard Egarr as its director as he takes particular care to create interesting,informative and enjoyable programmes. Each year the orchestra explores a different theme and I find that this gives a real purpose to the the music-making, as if something is continually evolving throughout the musical year. It results in a pleasing sense of having achieved something really worthwhile at the end.
The ‘Birth of the symphony’ concerts feature early symphonies and sinfonias of Handel, Mozart, JS Bach and Haydn, and open our 2011-12 season. For further information about the concert and how to book, visit our website.