A Q&A with Samantha Cohen from Continuo Collective
What is your goal/s for your Local Heroes series in 2016?
I am always looking for ways of reaching a broader audience and introducing people to music they never knew they loved.
What is your idea of perfect happiness?
My grandmother used to say happiness is not having what you want, but wanting what you have. I think she was right, especially if what you have includes family, friends and cats.
What do you think about when you perform live?
I think about the shared experience with the audience and my desire to communicate through music - while concentrating like mad to get it right and make it look easy!
Which historical figure do you most identify with and why?
Barbara Strozzi - she played theorbo and didn't have a beard!
Where is your favourite place on Earth and why?
In my mind I like to return to the mountains around Chiavenna near Milan. The freshness of the air, the wild flowers and the incredible silence when you reach the top is such a contrast to the noisy high-rise jungle that is Milan. Then again, I've always loved Melbourne - my home town.
If you could swap places with any other human or animal who or what would you choose and why?
I'd like to experience flight - so I'd choose a bird. Probably a sea bird…as long as we could swap back again.
Who is your ideal audience?
Anyone who is open to being drawn into a musical experience.
What colours speak to you? Have you ever experienced synaesthesia?
Blues and greens speak to me - the colours of natural open spaces and Australia's big skies.
Which living person do you most admire and why?
My father - who's on his way to Antarctica as I write this. He is 87.
What is your favourite book and why?
Bagombo Snuff Box is a collection of short stories by Kurt Vonnegut. It makes me laugh out loud.
What is your favourite piece of music and why?
I'll have to choose my favourite composer, as I couldn't possibly choose a single piece. Claudio Monteverdi. If I never got to play the music of any other composer, Monteverdi would be enough!
How did you come to play your instrument/s?
I was studying Classical Guitar, and trying to play lute music on the guitar was somehow not satisfying. I got myself a lute, and it just felt right. Then once I discovered the theorbo, there was no turning back!