Who or what inspired you to take up the trumpet and pursue a career in music?
My “inspiration“ was a small fanfare trumpet my dad bought on eBay. It was actually meant only for decoration, but when I was a five year old I couldn’t resist playing with it. From there on I simply fell in love with the trumpet and I never wanted to be something else other than a musician.
Who or what have been the most important influences on your musical life and career?
The most important influences for me definitely have been my parents who are musicians as well, and my teacher Reinhold Friedrich. My parents encouraged me with everything and still do! I couldn’t wish for better surroundings when I was growing up. From the age of 3, I went to the Opera house of my hometown Darmstadt, in which my parents played in the Orchestra, to listen to Hänsel und Gretel, Zauberflöte etc or all the concerts. It has never been in question for me that I wouldwant to do something else.
What have been the greatest challenges of your career so far?
I think there is not one specific general challenge but the musician’s life in general which is quite challenging. As I have many concerts, luckily, but there is really no chance to get some free days. I actually can’t remember when the last day was when I didn’t practice. I really like practicing! But I simply have to because if I take a day off I need like 3 to 4 days to get back to that “fitness“ level of my embouchure. So on every vacation my trumpet goes with me.
Which performances/recordings are you most proud of?
Definitely the concert with the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra back in 2015 with Maestro Semyon Bychkov! Every second of this absolutely fantastic week in Amsterdam is still so vivid and exciting in my mind like it was only yesterday.
Which particular works do you think you play best?
That’s a tough question… I’m not a specialist, so I try to play many different kinds of music. For sure I try my very best and enjoy making music, it doesn’t matter for me if it’s baroque, chamber music, solo, romantic, or the newest contemporary music.
As to which particular work I play the best, I guess the audience have to decide that.
How do you make your repertoire choices from season to season?
As I said, I’m trying to play as many different types of music as possible. I really enjoy the diversity of music, so why not play everything?
Do you have a favourite concert venue to perform in and why?
My favorite concert venue is definitely the Concertgebouw Amsterdam! The first time I was there was so magical for me. Standing in front of the RCO with Semyon Bychkov and playing one of my favourite works, the Haydn trumpet concerto, in this breathtaking hall – amazing!
Who are your favourite musicians?
This is changes a lot… Certainly my teacher Reinhold Friedrich is the one whom I’ve admired since childhood. But at the same time I’m really loving Jazz as well, Miles Davis and Chet Baker especially! Or great musicians and legends like Claudio Abbado and Sergiu Celibidache. The list could go on and on…
As a musician, what is your definition of success?
To be happy and confident with what you’re doing. It’s a great privilege to make music for a living! And it’s not all about the money, it is the passion and the pure joy which only music can bring.
What do you consider to be the most important ideas and concepts to impart to aspiring musicians?
To be yourself, be authentic, don’t just copy others. And from there on you can develop your own style and characteristic.
What is your idea of perfect happiness?
Love, health and music! I guess it’s that simple
Simon Höfele performs in a lunchtime concert on Tuesday 9 January in the brand new Concert Hall at Royal Birmingham Conservatoire as part of BBC Radio 3’s New Generation Artists season 2017-18.
One of the most exciting young trumpeters of his generation, Simon Höfele has already made his debut with some of the world’s greatest orchestras, including the Royal Concertgebouw under conductor Semyon Bychkov. He is the winner of the 2016 Reinhold Friedrich International Trumpet Competition in Lisbon, and also won the European Prize for Young Trumpet Players in Alençon, France, and First Prize at the Felix Mendelssohn Bartholdy Conservatory.
Upcoming engagements include appearing as soloist with the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra, the Konzerthausorchester Berlin, Sinfonieorchester Aachen and Philharmonisches Orchester de Hansestadt, Lübeck. Höfele is also set to appear at a number of prestigious music festivals including Schleswig-Holstein.
Photo credit: Sebastian Heck