You need to warm up both hands, have a feeling of contact with the string and be totally relaxed
Before a concert I always eat something. Performing on an empty stomach doesn’t work for me and I head for carbs – I like to feel I’ve eaten something solid. Like many musicians, I also eat a banana before going on stage. We have a running joke in the Hebrides Ensemble – normally we have one banana, but if it’s a scary concert, with music by the American composer Elliott Carter for example, someone pipes up with ‘maybe two bananas!’.
Backstage, just before a performance, I’m not wildly chatty and like to warm up properly. I’m conscious that you need to warm up both hands, have a feeling of contact with the string and be totally relaxed. I play passages slowly with a loose vibrato for the left hand and do string-crossings and wrist- and finger- rotation exercises at the heel and point of the bow for the right. I also play the concert repertoire through in my head and think about enjoying the concert so that I go on stage feeling positive.
Photo: Joanne Green