On 10 April we say a fond farewell to Noël Bradshaw, one of our longest-serving Members having joined the LSO Cello section some 40 years ago! Before we wish him well on his retirement, his good friend Robert Turner, LSO Viola, quizzed Noël on composers, conductors, concert halls and more.
Why did you take up the cello?
It was a mistake. My music teacher at school thought I said 'bowing instrument’ rather than 'blowing instrument' when she asked me I If would like to learn to play an instrument!
Which musician has had the most influence on you?
My teacher William Pleeth. He put the music into music and made me think about what each piece was really about.
Which musician in history would you like to have heard live or met?
Hector Berlioz, just because he was such a whacky person. He seemed to have an unbounded imagination, wrote music that was considered impossible, and his journalism and books are very entertaining too – he had a great sense of humour. I loved playing his operas with Colin Davis, especially The Trojans.
What is your favourite orchestral music?
Whatever I’m into at that moment.
Mahler or Bruckner?
I’m able to love two different things!
Do you have a favourite concert hall?
Symphony Hall, Boston.
Which country or city do you most enjoy visiting?
Amsterdam; I love the Dutch. I guess their sense of irony is similar to ours. But I enjoy visiting most European cities; you don’t realise what a shared culture we have until you do so.
Which conductor has impressed you the most?
Carlos Kleiber – he made me think that the art of conducting was limitless.
What advice do you have for cellists at the start of their career?
I’m not sure I could presume to answer that. Each player needs different advice.
Name one living composer whose music we will still be playing 30 years or more from now.
I know that you love playing chamber music. What are your main interests?
I used to play quite a bit of Baroque cello and loved the chamber music possibilities there – anyone know the Telemann ‘Paris’ quartets? Such elegant music. More recently I have got together with other LSO players and we worked our way through the Beethoven late quartets, which was a revelation to me.
If you are not playing the cello, what might we find you doing?