Sarah Nicolls, pianist

The singular greatest challenge I’ve experienced is the result of asking “why don’t we change the shape of the piano?”. It turns out this is at least a life’s work!

Alexander Bedenko, clarinettist

To me success is a dead silence during your performance on stage, when you can hear someone’s breath from the audience and when after the concert you see people’s eyes full of joy and sometimes tears and sense the sincere enrichment of their souls.

Keval Shah, pianist

I feel very close to the songs of Hugo Wolf and love the process of analysing the detail of his writing and trying to figure out what he might be doing with the music. Playing songs is fascinating because you get to go inside the mind of a composer and get a sense of how they read poetry. In a way, songs are little acts of translation – the poetry as read by an individual, transformed into sound.

Alex Hall, songwriter, musician & music producer

I think people are collectively much more in an upbeat mood on a Friday evening compared to Monday so it’s important I don’t ‘offend’ them with a 250BPM aggressive bebop track on a Monday evening, for example!

Haochen Zhang, pianist

Who or what have been the most important influences on your musical life and career? I would say that there is no single influence in my musical life which I would regard as the most important. I always learn so much from my teachers and friends whose personalities and ideas are vastly different from one…

Jessica Cottis, conductor

I find it very fascinating how music sounds different in different venues. We create music for a specific venue with every performance. All this said, I do love the Royal Albert Hall.