A Q&A with Ben Opie from Inventi Ensemble
What is your goal/s for your Local Heroes series in 2016?
To bring our unique, diverse and high quality chamber music to Melbourne Recital Centre. We are very excited about performing our new arrangement of Prokofiev's Classical Symphony for 5 instruments at our first Local Heroes concert in May. We are also keen to get to know new audience members who maybe haven't come across Inventi Ensemble before.
What is your idea of perfect happiness?
Good music making with people you like!
What do you think about when you perform live?
We like to take risks. The wonderful thing about live music is you can take risks and explore the expectations you have of a piece in that moment. So a lot of the time, we are thinking about 'how can we push this further?! It's also always wonderful to play around with how you experience the space you're playing in. Every room is different, so you get to enjoy those changes in a live environment.
Which historical figure do you most identify with and why?
I've always felt a connection with Hildegard von Bingen... she seems really sensible. I read somewhere that once, when she was being harassed by the clergy, she levitated away from them... sensible.
Where is your favourite place on Earth and why?
Too many to count! I like to travel and so my favourite place tends to be where I am at that time.
If you could swap places with any other human or animal who or what would you choose and why?
Pooches seem to be pretty content! I'd trade with a pooch of some sort for a while.
Who is your ideal audience?
Our ideal audience is open minded and willing to come with us on musical journeys that often span centuries and are from all around the world. And again, we like to take risks... so we like our audiences to want us to take risks!
What colours speak to you? Have you ever experienced synaesthesia?
No... I haven't experienced synaesthesia, I don't really have strong feelings about colours.
Which living person do you most admire and why?
Malala Yousafzai, she's indomitable and an inspiration.
What is your favourite book and why?
I go through a lot of phases of favourite books... I have a lot of fun reading adventure or a sci-fi thing... escapism is what I like about reading.
What is your favourite piece of music and why?
It's so hard to say because there are so many factors- favourite piece to play? Penderecki's Capriccio is a roller coaster of explosive, amazing music. Or Britten's Phantasy Quartet is sublime... I love listening to Gorecki's music or Sofia Gubaidulina. It often comes down to a mood of any given day that will change my preferences.
How did you come to play your instrument/s?
At the beginning of high school, as part of the elective music program, we had to pick an instrument to play. I had already played piano and recorder and sung a bit. My mum said I should pick the clarinet, because we had one in the family that I might be able to use. But then when the oboe came up, without really thinking, I asked to have my name taken off the clarinet list and put on the oboe list... the rest is history!