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Recorder31 - Day 13

Recorder31 - Day 13

For today's Recorder31 feature we caught up with last year's winner of the Moeck/Society of Recorder Players Solo Playing Competition, Tabea Debus. We're excited to welcome back Tabea for this year's LIFEM: Digital in November.

What has this year been like since winning the Competition?

The weeks after the competition were packed with fun concerts and collaborations with ensembles including La Serenissima and IBO - lots of travelling, which now seems like a lifetime away...especially since I have remained in one place in Germany for almost 5 months now! During those I was lucky to be able to keep up my recorder teaching at Wells Cathedral School remotely, as well as work on a number of outreach projects and virtual concerts, whilst staying in the same place.

What’s your favourite thing about the London International Festival of Early Music?

I love the buzzing atmosphere of the Festival and Exhibition - it's the perfect opportunity to catch up with friends, colleagues, recorder makers, students... you somehow always bump into lots of people you know as soon as you come through the door!

You have a very varied repertoire as a performer, and wonderfully creative ideas in terms of presenting what you do. What is the most challenging aspect of all of this?

Often I make decisions on my programme repertoire way in advance of the first rehearsals and performances, and, if I'm working with a composer on a new piece, without even knowing what this will sound like. Predicting if a piece will actually fit into its context is one of the biggest challenges -- and equally, not getting too attached to a piece of music in the early stages, as it may well have to be replaced... In addition, I often keep the programmes flexible in terms of instrumentation for the basso continuo, which means that (interpretational) changes are inevitable - which keeps a programme fresh.

The 2020 pandemic has been unprecedented and has had a significant and negative impact on the live music world. How has it been for you as a musician? 

Well, of course I have seen a massive change in my diary, which was packed and suddenly almost empty! At first, that was shocking, devastating, and also frustrating -- but it also opened up new doors, and the chance to explore music and music-making in a different way. There have been a number of projects 'born out of' lockdown and keeping in touch with colleagues online, and I'm sure these will stay with me and shape my post-pandemic life as a musician. 

All being well, what is upcoming in 2021 for you as a performer?

Covid-19 permitting I have a mix of exciting concerts and tours, mainly in the UK, Germany and America, in the diary for next year - I'm especially looking forward to collaborating further with Samuele Telari (accordion) and Theo Plath (bassoon), continuing to work on a couple of outreach projects, which were started in lockdown, going to and playing at the festivals in Stockstadt and Open Recorder Days Amsterdam... too many things to name them all!! 

If you could sum up your ‘USP’, what would it be?

Perhaps it's a mix of curiosity and an endeavour to look at the music I play in an unconventional, out-of-the-box way? Even though I love playing in a 'conventional' setup (e.g. with harpsichord, lute or viola da gamba) I am always open to trying out curious combinations, new playing techniques and unconventional interpretations.

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