Niall Brown - Photo: Eric Chenal

Niall Brown

Cello

Niall BrownVioloncello

Niall Brown wurde in Aberdeen in Schottland geboren und begann im Alter von sechs Jahren, Cello zu spielen. Kurz darauf entdeckte Yehudi Menuhin sein außergewöhnliches Talent und nahm ihn an seiner Schule in der Nähe von London auf. Dort erhielt Niall Brown Unterricht von so namhaften Cellisten wie Maurice Gendron und William Pleeth und setzte sein Studium anschließend bei Ralph Kirshbaum und Radu Aldulescu fort. In den Niederlanden und im Vereinigten Königreich gewann Niall Brown mehrere Cello- und Kammermusikwettbewerbe. Seine Leidenschaft für die Kammermusik führte ihn zur Zusammenarbeit mit großen Künstlern wie Yehudi Menuhin, János Starker, Bruno Giuranna, Alberto Lysy, Stephen Kovacevich, Michel Dalberto und Edith Fischer in Europa, Asien, den USA und Südamerika. Er war zu Gast beim Menuhin Festival Gstaad in der Schweiz, beim Haydn-Festival in Österreich, beim Singapore Chamber Music Festival, bei der Semaine Internationale du Piano in der Schweiz, beim Aboyne and Deeside Festival in Schottland und beim Festival Lysy im argentinischen Buenos Aires. Acht Jahre war Niall Brown Mitglied des renommierten Australian String Quartet, mit dem er auf Konzertreisen durch Australien, Asien und Europa zu erleben war. Als Solocellist und Solist spielte er zudem mit der Camerata Bern, dem Scottish Ensemble, der Camerata Lysy Gstaad und dem Orchestre de Chambre de Lausanne unter Dirigenten wie Jesús Lopez Cobos, Milan Horvat, Alberto Lysy und Thomas Füri. Seit beinahe zwanzig Jahren tritt Niall Brown mit seiner Klavierpartnerin Isabelle Trüb auf. Ihre Interpretationen eines Großteils des Repertoires für Violoncello und Klavier wurden europaweit, in Australien und Südamerika von der Presse gelobt. Das Duo hat mehrere Einspielungen vorgelegt, und zahlreiche Radiosender senden Live- sowie zeitversetzte Mitschnitte seiner Konzerte. Niall Brown war Professor für Kammermusik und Violoncello an der International Menuhin Music Academy in der Schweiz sowie an der University of Adelaide in Australien. Regelmäßig gibt er Sommerkurse für Violoncello in Schottland und in der Schweiz. Heute hat er eine Gastprofessur an der International Menuhin Music Academy im schweizerischen Gstaad inne. Seit 2006 ist er zweiter Solo-Cellist des Orchestre Philharmonique du Luxembourg. Immer wieder ist er darüber hinaus in Recitals beispielsweise mit Bachs Solosuiten für Violoncello, in Konzerten mit Klavierbegleitung oder aber mit Kammermusikensembles wie z.B. dem Dohnányi Quartett (Schweiz) zu hören. Niall Brown gründete das Festival Automne Musical im schweizerischen Ollon.

Fragen an den Musiker: 

How did you choose your instrument?

I was born into a very musical family;  my brother had already chosen the violin and as a child I was looking for something bigger:  at the young age of six, the violincello was the largest string instrument I could handle, and as you can see I stayed with it.

What is the role of the conductor and how important is he for you?

Well, to my mind, the conductor should be a good communicator and be able to act as a kind of catalyser for the members of an orchestra. That allows him to gain the musicians for his cause i.e. he will have a much easier access to them and convey his views of the interpretation of the programmed pieces in a more pleasing manner. He should also be able to share his inspiration with the orchestra and thereby raise the interest and curiosity in its members.

Who is your favorite composer and which work do you most enjoy playing?

Generally speaking, there are hardly any composers I am not  interested in. I would say that I appreciate all of them. They all have something interesting to tell. But if you ask me for my absolute favorite I do not hesitate one moment to name Schubert. I love Schubert best and he is the composer I most enjoy playing. However, if you asked me to set up a concert programme, I would certainly not forget Beethoven and Brahms.

How do you rate the OPL’s concert tours?

Concert tours are very important in my opinion for various reasons: You play the same works several times but in different places. Mostly the musicians live a continuous development as far as the interpretations are concerned, which represents an enriching and gratifying experience for them. Another no less important advantage of concert tours resides in the fact that the musicians have closer contact with each other, can meet in a more relaxed and convivial atmosphere despite the stress of travelling a lot; and they come to know each other better in a different context.

What can ensure a successful concert, and how do you feel after the performance?

Being on the same wavelength with the audience and feeling the same emotions is a great experience both for the musicians and the listeners. It is a kind of artistic communion.

What do you do in your spare time?

Apart from the fact that I love being with my family (it comes first), I practise my instrument intensely. As far as my leisure time is concerned I just enjoy Nature: walks in quiet woods or over wide meadows make me feel so humble; Nature keeps me on the ground, instills peace into me, reminds me of the essence of my existence and keeps me going.

Apart from classical music, what other styles of music do you like?

Believe it or not: Schubert does not prevent me from being a great Jazz fan.

Are there other musicians or famous people who have especially influenced you?

Absolutely: I have had the great privilege to know and work with artists like Yehudi Menuhin, Maurice Gendron (also a cellist), Alberto Lysy and Nadia Boulanger among others. They influenced my further development very strongly and gave me the necessary support for my career.

What brought you to Luxembourg and what do you particularly like here?

It was of course the enrolment in the OPL more than ten years ago that made me discover Luxembourg.  Living here I strongly appreciate the diversity of cultures and people, and nevertheless social life seems to be in a good balance: here we live in a kind of „universal microcosm“, with all the attributes of a well working democracy.

Do you feel the orchestra has developed since you joined it some ten years, and how do you see its future?

I think that the orchestra has enormously developed over the last years. The collaboration within the OPL and on the various managerial levels as well as the administrative responsibilities is excellent. It can be described to be as precise and reliable as a Swiss watch. There is a good chance that the orchestra may gain an even greater reputation in the international world of music.

What is your relationship with your instrument?

The cello I am playing at present is very young: it is six years old and I had it custom made by the famous luthier André Theunis in Brussels. The instrument is still developing with me, and me with it. It is like a father-child relationship: we discover each other, we get to know each other, get used to each other, we grow together, mature together, perform together and hope to end up in a unique oneness. What a wonderful experience!