Call & Response: Michael Collins

Posted on: April 4, 2011 in: Uncategorised

In honour of his very first appearance in London as Principal Conductor of the City of London Sinfonia, Michael Collins sheds some light on a few of his firsts and some of his lasts for good measure.


What was the first performance you attended? It was Rimsky Korsakov’s Scheherazade with the London Symphony Orchestra at the Royal Festival Hall. It was a Sir Robert Mayer Concert for Children.

How did your very first audition go? It was for the Royal College of Music Junior Department. I was so nervous that my fingers shook all the way through, but they still let me in.

When and where was the first time you performed in London? I played at a Youth Makes Music concert when I was 10 at the Royal Festival Hall to 3000 people playing a Brahms Sonata.

Who was your first mentor/inspiration? On the clarinet it was Thea King from a very early age. I went to see her and asked for her autograph then carried on to study with her. On the piano it was and still is Martha Argerich, and I have been lucky enough to play with her on several occasions.


How was your first time stepping into conductor’s shoes? It seemed a natural progression from the clarinet as I had been doing a lot of directing from the instrument.

What was the last piece of music you listened to? John Adams’ Atomic Symphony.

When did you last feel truly challenged? I suppose whenever I walk on the platform it is a challenge as I am trying all the time to make the experience the very best, not just for me but for the audience as well.

Who was the last person to offer you some sage advice? Actually it was my 12 year old son who told me not to worry so much and take it easy!!

Michael will be conducting and performing at Cadogan Hall on Thursday 7 April, 7.30pm. Box Office: 020 7730 4500.


Have a listen to our Concert Playlist to hear all the pieces that will be performed on the night.