Next Wednesday, Kati, one of the OAE’s four leaders, will direct two concerts at the Queen Elizabeth Hall, one at 7pm and a following Night Shift at 10pm. We caught up with her to ask her a few questions…

What do you fear the most?
Debilitating illness of a loved one.

Which mobile number do you call the most?
The wonderful Hungarian-speaking babysitter’s of my 15 month old Alma. And I keep trying my husband’s knowing he won’t hear it – I inflicted the phone on him…

What – or where – is perfection?
In our minds. But no harm in trying!

Who is your favourite hero from fiction (book/comic/film/opera) – and why?
I like anti-heroes better then heroes. Sancho Panza or Leporello are so much more interesting then the protagonists – they are human, and frail, and have real emotional depth and complexities.

What’s your favourite ritual?
Not a person of rituals really. If pressed – going to a cafe and reading the newspaper by myself. Sad…

Which living person do you most admire (and why)?
All women musicians who managed to bring up well-rounded children whilst keeping their work going.

What other talent or skill would you like to possess?
Patience.

What is the most important lesson life has taught you?
Impatience doesn’t pay off. And people work better as a team if they feel trusted.

What is the most played piece of music on your MP3 player or in your CD collection?
Goes in phases. Janet Baker and Elisabeth Schwazkopf singing Schubert.
Grumiaux and Haskill playing Mozart together.
Dave Brubeck’s Time Out.

Is it challenging playing as well as leading a performance (as you will be on 20 October)?
It’s just different challenges from playing in the orchestra. In a way it’s easier – I can persuade my colleagues to see the music the way I imagine it goes.

What’s the best thing about playing with the OAE?
The constant challenge of playing wildly different styles of music, with a huge array of wonderful conductors and instrumentalists.

Should the classical music world work harder to attract a wider audience?
Yes, otherwise who will come to our concerts in 30 years time? Contrary to the sometimes elitist image, classical music is fun, and it can give one the same adrenaline rush as a great sports game or a rock concert.

Kati directs the OAE in music by Handel and Vivaldi (amongst others) at the Queen Elizabeth Hall on 20 October at 7pm, and again, as part of The Night Shift at 10pm.

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