Work & Play: An interview with Matthew Hunt

Ahead of the Chamber Notes tour, we caught up with clarinetist Matthew Hunt for a quick chat about life as a musician, on tour and at home.

4 October 2018

Scottish Ensemble (SE): What’s your favourite venue to play?

Matthew: That’s a tricky one – there have been quite a few memorable ones, all for different reasons, but I think if I had a favourite, it has to be the Laieszhalle in Hamburg. It’s the most perfect acoustic and it’s one of the venues where Maria Callas was filmed singing.

SE: What is/are your favourite piece(s) to play?

Matthew: I have to confess, that Mozart clarinet quintet comes pretty much top of my list, but that’s maybe too predictable. I’m a great fan of both Sibelius and Stravinsky. Always thrilled to play anything by either of them. This summer I played in a performance of Sibelius’ fifth symphony. There are few pleasures like filling your lungs and playing the swans’ airborne melody over a section of horns as they take over the bass line and that motif gets given the crown it’s being pining for.

SE: What’s been the best moment of your career so far?

Matthew: These are tricky questions! I do however remember a Schubert octet at Wigmore Hall with the one and only Pekka Kuusisto that’s gonna take a lot of beating.

SE: What’s been the biggest challenge?

Matthew: This year, playing Magnus Lindberg’s clarinet concerto in Bogotá at 3000m altitude. Deep breaths and fast fingers.

SE: Do you have any pre-concert concert rituals?

Matthew: I always worry that my clarinet reed is either too young and not blown in or is about to die. Wind players and their reeds have complicated relationships.

SE: What are the best things about being on tour?

Matthew: Going for amazing meals around the world with my friends.

SE: What are the worst things about being on tour?

Matthew: Aside from going for bad meals around the world without any friends, not sleeping in my own bed.

SE: What’s the first thing you do when you get home from tour?

Matthew: Have a soak in the bath with a book having played my beautiful 6’3” Blüthner grand piano whilst the bath was running.

SE: If you hadn’t become a musician, what do you think you’d be doing now?

Matthew: I’d be perfecting the perfect stuffed pasta recipe, which would very likely comprise squash, butter and sage.

SE: Where in the world would you most like to live?

Matthew: Ferrara in Italy – the stuffed pumpkin cappellacci with butter and sage are too good not to live there.

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