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Alex Burns

Spotlight

Say hello to Mahler's biggest fan, Alex Burns. Trumpet player, general music enthusiast and celebrated blogger. If you've not come across Alex's blog yet, you're missing a trick; it was voted one of the Top 50 Classical Music Blogs ever! 


So, what do you do as a musician in Sheffield?

Primarily, I am a music journalist/reviewer/blogger, but I am also a trumpet player who enjoys playing with local orchestras, bands and other ensembles.

What's your most memorable musical experience in the city?

The first thing that came to mind was when I played Mahler's Fifth Symphony with Hallam Sinfonia last year. As well as being able to play a symphony by my favourite composer, the orchestra also asked me to write the programme notes, and give a pre-concert talk about Mahler, his life, and his works. This was such a great experience for me, and I really enjoyed it.

Which 3 musical guests would you invite to your dream dinner party and why?

This is a tough question! Definitely Gustav Mahler, because after writing two dissertations on him, I’d love to ask him how close I was to the truth! Secondly, I would invite Claudio Abbado, who is my favourite conductor of all time. I would invite him because I’d love to know how he worked through all of the Mahler symphonies, and why he made some of the decisions he did whilst performing them at the Lucerne Festivals (see a trend yet?). Lastly, I’d invite Henry-Louis de la Grange, who died in January of last year. He is perhaps the most prolific Mahler biographer and musicologist, and I have always admired his work. Therefore, I’d have three Mahler guests, and I feel like it would be the best experience ever (shame they’ve all passed away though!).

If you had to play another instrument, what would it be?

I have always been so fascinated with the bassoon, so I would have to say that.

What was the first record you ever bought?

I actually cannot remember what it was - it may have been an album by Anastacia.

What’s your favourite music venue in Sheffield and why?

It very much depends on the kind of music I’m going for. If we’re talking classical, I love City Hall and Music in the Round Studio. If we’re talking jazz, then Cubana has a great atmosphere. For others, I do very much like The Washington and The Chimney House.

What's your first musical memory?

I started learning music very late in comparison to lots of my friends. However, I was always brought up surrounded by music. My mum always used to play classical music, or heavy metal music (a match made in heaven!), and my dad would have on Indie, folk or country music. So I have grown into my own very eclectic music taste.

Who has been your most inspiring music teacher?

I cannot mention just one, that’s impossible! My A Level teachers, Ross and Mel, were so inspiring at such a testing time in my education. They were the ones to get me interested in musicology and music history, which has ended up being my specialism and career.

In your opinion, which other ensemble/musician in Sheffield is doing great things?

I’m sure they all are! But as I am playing with them this weekend, Endcliffe Orchestra are set to have a fun concert this Saturday (27 January), with some classics.

Sell your next concert to us in one sentence.

Classical classics!

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