Interview with Genevieve Lacey – touring soon with Concerto Copenhagen

Genevieve Lacey is a recorder virtuoso who performs music spanning ten centuries. She works in contexts as diverse as Black Arm Band, who present music of the Australian Indigenous experience, her medieval duo with Poul Høxbro, and her role in Liza Lim’s opera The Navigator. As a concerto soloist, Genevieve Lacey appears with Academy of Ancient Music, English Concert, St Petersburg Chamber Orchestra, Malaysian Philharmonic Orchestra and many Australian orchestras. She has performed at arts festivals around the world.

Genevieve Lacey tours Australia in June and July with Concerto Copenhagen.

How old were you when you started playing the recorder?

Family memory is a bit hazy, but we think 4 or 5.

A lot of young musicians begin on the recorder and then move to other wind instruments. What made you stay? Do you play any other instruments?

I did play other instruments – I was a serious pianist at school, and my music degree is also in oboe. I stayed with the recorder because I love its sound, directness and simplicity, and it feels very natural to me in a way the other instruments never did.

Do you encounter people who consider the recorder a child’s instrument?

Sure, all the time! It’s fun transforming their view of the instrument.

How many different types of recorder are there, and how many do you play? (And can you play multiple instruments simultaneously!?)

There are five instruments in the standard recorder family. But there are many others that are less common. I have 25. And yes, I can and do play two simultaneously, but have never yet worked out a way to play three…

Your repertoire spans ten centuries. What challenges does this present?

It presents more joys than challenges. Hopping across centuries, learning different dialects, absorbing new ideas keeps me alive.

The recorder is often categorised as an instrument of the Baroque period. Are there many contemporary composers writing for the recorder?

Yes, there are, and I’m very happy to have commissioned and premiered many new works for my instrument. Working with composers is one of the greatest pleasures of my musical life.

You’ve toured all over the world. What is your favourite touring destination?

I’m lucky – I’ve been all sorts of places, and it’s very hard to name a favourite. In the last couple of months, I’ve been playing in Ireland and Korea – utterly different, and both fascinating, but you know, home’s a lovely place…!

What can audiences expect from the Concerto Copenhagen tour?

Gorgeous music, played with passion, humour and integrity.

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Welcome to Musica Viva’s International Concert Season blog. Here you can follow and read more about our wonderful touring artists.

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