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Five Minutes with: Alexandra Raikhlina, Sub-Principal First Violin with Northern Sinfonia

Posted on 13 June 2012

How did your very first audition go?
In my Northern Sinfonia audition I remember really enjoying playing chamber music with the members, that was a highlight.

When and where was the first time you performed with Northern Sinfonia?
My first concert with Northern Sinfonia was in Dewsbury, in September 2008, it was a nightmare getting there from London!

What is your most memorable concert? (either playing or listening)
I have been thinking about this question for days, strangely, I can remember loads of wonderful concerts that I have either been involved in or listened to, but I just can’t pick a most memorable one, maybe that one hasn’t happened yet?

What are the pros and cons of playing in a chamber orchestra as opposed to a symphony orchestra?
To be a string player playing in a chamber orchestra is absolutely great. You can always hear yourself, which is often not the case when you are playing in a symphony orchestra.

How much time per week, is spent practising at home, rather than in Sinfonia rehearsals, and how does this fit in with your home life?
It depends if I have something other than work to prepare for. It varies between a minimum of seven hours a week and (there is no limit really, one does however much one needs to do), but on average 21 hours.

Who’s your favourite conductor that you’ve worked with at Northern Sinfonia , and why?
The first name that springs to mind is our Music Director Thomas Zehetmair, he gets the best out of every player at all time. Henrich Schiff has a very clear image in his mind of what he would like to hear, which he portrays with humour and a lightness of being that brings feeling of trust and freedom to the orchestra. Mario Venzago, behind a very pleasant and funny personality, I think there are very clear ideas. He has a great ear for intonation and he can be very direct, which I personally think is a quality. I am sure there many others, but these are the first that came to mind.

Better with or without conductor?
Depends on the conductor. But I would say that both ways have advantages and disadvantages. The results can be very exciting in very different ways.

What’s on your iPod?
I don’t tend to listen to classical music in my free time, not that I wouldn’t enjoy it, but I don’t find it very relaxing, it makes me concentrate on what I am listening to. So instead of having it in the background everything else becomes the background!
So I tend to listen to jazz, I like the Beatles, Jacque Brel, George Brasense…

Tell us an advantage of living and working in the North East?
Better quality of life.

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