Sunday 14th July, 4pm
PARABOLA ARTS CENTRE
Alan Rusbridger speaker/piano
in conversation with
As a boy the Guardian newspaper’s editor, Alan Rusbridger, was (in his own words) ‘a cathedral chorister, a reasonable orchestral clarinetist and a very mediocre pianist’. In his late 40s he restarted piano lessons and tried to make up for more than 30 years of missing technique.
In this event, he discusses with BBC Radio 3’s Suzy Klein his recent attempt to learn, in the space of a year, Chopin’s fearsomely difficult Ballade No 1 – and how this pianistic challenge coincided with momentous events in his day job: the Arab Spring, the Japanese tsunami, WikiLeaks and the phone hacking scandal. New Yorker critic Alex Ross has described his resulting book, Play It Again, as a ‘dazzling, dizzying memoir’, the result of ‘a wide-awake, fearless mind’.
Read a bit more about Alan Rusbridger and Suzy Klein
Place of birth Lusaka, Zambia
Studied English at Cambridge, Journalism at Harlow Tech
Significant teachers and/or mentors Music: Derek Bourgeois, composer; English: Arthur Sale, poet and letter-writer; Journalism: Fulton Gillespie, my first chief reporter
Place you call home London and Gloucestershire
Career highlights Editing The Guardian
Favourite composer At the moment: Debussy
Unfulfilled ambition Conduct the Verdi Requiem. First change bowler for England.
I’d love to have discovered Penicillin.
Right now I’m reading the Rupert Christiansen memoir.
The guilty pleasure on my iPod is The Grateful Dead.
Britten or Poulenc? Britten
If you could play any other instrument, what would it be? Ondes Martenot
Place of birth The now sadly-defunct Middlesex Hospital in London
Studied A degree in Music and later Broadcast Journalism
Significant teachers and/or mentors Roger Parker, my professor at Oxford
Place you call home Anywhere my husband and children are
Career highlights Winning a Sony Award recently for Best Music Broadcaster was great. Knowing that people are actually out there, listening, responding and enjoying what you do, gave a real lift – especially given that I spend much of my time in a rather lonely broadcast studio! I work with some really talented people in BBC Production, so I felt that award was for all of us.
Favourite composer In no particular order: Bach, Steve Reich, Monteverdi, Mozart, Verdi, Chopin, Bernstein, Stravinsky… (I’ve run out of space to keep going!)
Unfulfilled ambition To sing with a big band
Something else? I make a fantastic lemon and orange polenta cake.
Where will your next stop be after Cheltenham? Back to London to be on air for Radio 3, then hailing a cab to go immediately to the Royal Opera to interview Renee Fleming.
I’d love to have discovered the first ever vaccine – one of the wonders of human ingenuity.
Right now I’m reading Charles Emmerson’s magisterial study of the year 1913.
The guilty pleasure on my iPod is AC/DC’s Back in Black. Loud enough to make your ears bleed!
Britten or Poulenc? Britten
If you could play any other instrument, what would it be? I always thought female cellists looked very noble, beautiful and sexy, so I’d like to have a go at that!
Buy tickets now for this event on Sunday, 14th July at the Parabola Arts Centre