Life as a professional musician is often demanding, challenging and full of surprises. In this new regular feature of ours, find out more about some of the members of City of London Sinfonia.
First up – Dan Bates, our Principal Oboist, answers a few hard-hitting questions!
Your CLS career to date
I had never played with the Orchestra before I applied for the job. I had heard that they play a lot with singers and in opera, which is something that I particularly enjoy, so I was really hoping that I’d at least get to play with them on trial a few times. I was so thrilled when I got the call from Barry offering me the position that I couldn’t stop jumping up and down!
Your most memorable CLS concert?
It was an all English programme at the Brighton Festival under Richard Hickox (unfortunately the only time I worked with him and CLS, although I had worked with him in different orchestras). The highlight of the night for me was a performance of Riders to the Sea by Vaughan Williams. I just loved it and it was the first time I’d worked with the other wind principals. I remember thinking – “this is where I really want to be.”
How do you relax away from CLS?
Before playing the oboe seriously, I was a professional actor and was on TV a few times – in Casualty and some comedy stuff, and also in the West End with Kristin Scott Thomas and Eric Sykes. I loved it but always missed playing. I ran the London Marathon last year and enjoy trying to keep vaguely healthy (really important for being a wind player!) I also enjoy learning languages – I’m still plugging away at Spanish and hope to brush up my French soon. Helen McQueen, our fantastic second oboe, is fluent in French so I look forward to the days when we can discuss Proust in the breaks!
What would be your choices on Desert Island Discs?
Der Rosenkavalier is my absolute number one favourite. I’ve never played it and constantly live in hope that one day I will. It’s very cheesy but I even have a tattoo of the silver rose on my back (I had it done while I was a teenager – not something I’d consider doing now!). I’m also a total Wagner nut, so Tristan and Meistersinger would have to be up there too. I’m also a massive fan of Stevie Wonder!
There are only a few remaining tickets for the next CLS concert – book now!