Friday, February 23, 2024

Ana de la Vega: “What’s on your mantelpiece?”

20 questions with flautist Ana de la Vega


The Steeple Times shares “wit and wisdom”. What’s your guiding force?

Vissi d’arte, vissi d’amore, non feci mai male ad anima viva – which for non-Puccini buffs means: “I lived for my art, I lived for love, I never did harm to a living soul”.


“Don’t get even, get medieval” is, in our humble opinion, a great motto. What’s yours?

“I prefer the errors of enthusiasm to the indifference of wisdom”.


Kerry Katona was considered unacceptable in 2007. Who or what is unacceptable in 2013?

Asking a classical musician what their real job is… or if it is full-time.


Tony Blair misses being Prime Minister. What do you miss most in your life?

Red-backs in the dunny… NOT. But I do miss the morning light over the ocean and feeding the chooks. (Aussie for chicken).


What might you swap all your wealth for?

I’ll tell you when I’ve acquired enough wealth to consider swapping.


Donald Trump was once a case of: “If you owe the bank a thousand, they close you down; but if you owe the bank a billion, you own the bank”. What’s your view on the banking crisis?

I spend almost no time and energy worrying about things like this… Disassociating my fourth finger from my pinkie is the greater concern chez moi.


What phrase or word do you most loathe?

“Chilled out” and “we are chilling out” as my Latin temperament doesn’t allow me to so I can’t sympathise.


In the UK, some people consider charity to “begin at home”. What’s your view and what causes do you personally support?

I’m a musician so I am a charity.


The judge in Law Abiding Citizen states: “I can pretty much do whatever I want” before being blown up whilst answering her mobile phone. What’s your view on the appropriate use of such devices?

Obsession with smart phones and instant communication is a sort of madness. At best it’s rude and inconsiderate, at worst a danger to a sane relationships with the people and world around you… “Oh, whoops, I’m so sorry, I just need to take this really important call”.


Ana de la Vega
Ana de la Vega

If you could fill a carriage on The Orient Express, who would be your fellow passengers?

The eight people who are my fellow members of my ensemble, the London International Players. They are just the best company. We have fights because we care but I love them all to death. I’d also have Francis Pounlenc along because, apart from writing music, he was a party boy… I’d also invite my mum. She’s madder and more wonderful than all of them put together.


If you were unfortunate enough to end up on death row, what would be your last meal and where would you eat it?

Fish pie and half a bottle of Pinot Noir on the roof of the Paris Opera. If I couldn’t get to France, a risotto primavera at Cafe Koha behind Wyndham’s Theatre.


What time is it acceptable to consume the first drink of the day?

Never before a concert or before practice is finished for the day – so that sadly takes us to about 11pm. Playing an instrument half well is hard enough stone cold sober. And never when you’ve got to rehearse the next day, unless you’re completely satisfied with how you’re playing… but since you never are that means you should never drink. But somehow I slip one in now and again…


A Negroni, a martini or a cup of tea?

Endless cups of tea when rehearsing and before a gig. A couple of martinis after.


Whose parties do you enjoy the most and why?

Long, relaxed, voluble dinners with slightly mad, interesting people – and a quiet enough background to hear and be heard without shouting… but not too quiet.


Who is the most positive person you know?

Our ensemble’s extraordinary guru and benefactor, Frédéric de Mevius.


What’s your most guilty pleasure?

More than two martinis after the show as I know I will be rehearsing the next day.


If a tattoo were to sum you up, what would it be of?

An Amazonian warrior with a flute instead of a sword.


If you were a car, what marque would you be?

God, I don’t really know about cars…something fast and classy an Aston Martin, perhaps – but with a slightly flat tyre or a tick-tick-tick noise you can’t find.


Cilla Black presented Surprise, Surprise. Tell us the most surprising thing about you.

I used to muster cattle horse back in the early evenings in a place far far away from a concert hall.


What’s currently sitting on your mantelpiece?

A pile of random pebbles, sea shells and weather-worn bits of wood. A small bronze head of Tolstoy. Rather a lot of dust and an empty fag packet… Not guilty. Flautists (like singers) never smoke. Honest, guv.


Ana de la Vega studied at the Conservatoire Supérieur de Paris and won the position of Principal Flute with the Orquestra Sinfonica do Norte in Oporto, Portugal at the age of 23. She has held the Principal Flute positions with the EPK Europa Philharmonie in Baden-Württemberg in Germany, the Philharmonie der Nationen in Hamburg and the Britten-Pears World Festival Orchestra and has also performed with the English Chamber Orchestra. De la Vega is a member of the London International Players.


The London International Players perform at London’s Cadogan Hall this Friday, 8th November 2013. For tickets, telephone: +44 (0) 20 7730 4500 or click here.


Follow the London International Players on Twitter @LdnIntPlayers.



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