I like to remind myself before every concert to strive for some of the characteristics of the cellists I admire most
One day in class at Juilliard, the composer, author and pianist Bruce Adolphe came to give a talk. He said that often when he gives masterclasses for young students, they’d be so nervous that it severely affected their playing. He’d ask them to think of their favourite musician and tell them to play again pretending they are that person, and suddenly the nerves would be gone and the playing transformed. I don’t do exactly this in performance, but I like to remind myself before every concert to strive for some of the characteristics of the cellists I admire most. In an ideal world, I’d have the confidence and charisma of Rostropovich and the incredible freedom of expression of Jacqueline du Pré. These are tall orders to fill, of course, but it’s nice to have these goals to consider before performing.