20 APR 2017

Six questions with Harriet Krigh

The rising Dutch star talks travel tips, music idols and pre-concert rituals ahead of her performances with the SSO and conductor Robert Spano this week.

1. Who were your musical idols when you were growing up?

All three of my older brothers played instruments when I was growing up, so I guess I was inspired by them to pick up the cello. I’m the only one who became a professional though! And I’ve always been very lucky to have had fantastic teachers, all of whom I admired and had a very special bond with.

I spent a long time in Vienna studying with Lilia Schulz-Bayrova and for me she was for everything — not only a teacher but also like a mum. We worked so intensely together for 10 years. And still now she is the person that I really, really trust.

2. What travel advice would you give to someone visiting The Netherlands for the first time?

Well the North Sea Coast is so beautiful. I think it’s supposed to be best in May with all the flowers in bloom but I personally love it in every season... even when it’s very windy and rainy! It’s a beautiful place to free your mind.

3. Do you have any pre-concert rituals that help get you in the mindset to perform?

I do need some kind of focus time — I get focused by spending time alone with my instrument. The best thing of course is to get a lot of rest, but this can be hard when you travel a lot. But I make sure to go onstage feeling relaxed and...strong.

4. What do you love most about Elgar’s Cello Concerto?

It’s such an emotional piece, and so expressive. It was also the first recording I ever bought — the Jacqueline du Pre recording — and I used to listen to it every day.

5. You’ll soon be assuming the role of Artistic Director of the International Chamber Music Festival Utrecht. How did you feel when the festival’s founder, violinist Janine Jansen, approached you about the position?

That was just amazing. I studied in Utrecht and my family live there, so I grew up going to concerts at this festival. I always had the hope that maybe one day I would play in it but never imagined that I would take over. And Janine Jansen is for me such a big inspiration and support. So it’s an honour.

6. What’s the best piece of practice advice you’ve ever received?

Slow! Definitely. Practice slowly and listen very, very carefully as you do.

Harriet Krigh performed Elgar's Cello Concerto on 20-22 April at the Sydney Opera House.

Image: Marco Borggreve