The Anglo Spanish Society Review 228 Spring/Summer
In conversation with Nicole Crespo O´Donoghue
In the run up to the Society’s third annual classical concert, violinist
Nicole Crespo O’Donoghue, who will be performing again this year in a recital
organized by the Anglo-Spanish Society, speaks to La Revista about her Irish-Spanish heritage and her musical ambitions.
The petite musician with giant talent won a scholarship from the Diputación Foral de Bizkaia to attend the Royal Academy of Music and has her sights set on Carnegie Hall: “My mother is Irish, born in Dublin and I, like my father was born in Bilbao but spent long summers in Ireland. I always knew I would play the violin."
"I insisted so much that eventually when I was six my parents arranged for private classes with Professor Antonio Mendía until I was able to enter the Conservatorio in Leioa. Professor Antonio Mendía was my teacher and mentor for the next 11 years until I entered into the Royal Academy of Music in London where I now study with Professor Mateja Marinkovic."
"I have many musical heroes! But firstly I would say Jascha Heifetz, who is the god of violin playing. I also look up to Maxim Vengerov. I feel so related to him in his ambition as a child to become a soloist, I see myself reflected in a mirror with the same difficulties and ambitions and hope I will someday play as well as him. Then there is the beautiful and romantic touch of Joshua Bell’s playing, Itzhak Perlman who is extraordinary, and of course the elegant Anne Sophie Mutter. It would be a dream come true to come anywhere near their careers as a violinist."
"I’ve had my fair share of career highlights so far, including the loan of the Dalla Costa violin from The Royal Academy of Music, who I would like to thank for their confidence in me. It has made a huge difference in the development of my playing and has made possible many opportunities in my career as a violinist. Also playing for Prince Felipe and Princess Leticia of Spain at the Arriaga Theatre in Bilbao, that was such an honour! And I have to mention the Ashbourne Musical Festival in Ireland where I had the pleasure of opening the festival with a solo recital."
"If I could perform in any venue in the world it would be magnificent to play in Carnegie Hall in New York. I would love to play in the Euskalduna in Bilbao and The National Concert Hall in Dublin too for obvious reasons. This Spring I’ll be playing at the Anglo Spanish Society Classical Concert and also on the 4th of March in Dukes Hall with the Royal Academy Concert Orchestra under the baton of Simon Rattle, which will be very exciting. I give a regular number of recitals at lunchtime concerts in churches and at local hospices. Sometimes people are so sick they have to stay in their rooms and I play in the corridor. The most important thing for me is not the venue but the people; I love playing but I love playing for the people. I find plenty of Spanish home comforts in London. I like the many Spanish tapas bars and restaurants including El Pirata in Mayfair or Nueva Costa Dorada off Tottenham Court Road. I also love shopping at Zara. And of course the Anglo-Spanish Society puts on some great events to get involved in!"
"If I had to recommend one place to visit in Spain it would be Bilbao without a doubt. It has something for everyone. Besides the green mountains, beaches and dazzling blue sea. It is a cultural and architectural city home to museums like the Guggenheim, the Museo de Bellas Artes, the Euskalduna Conference and Music Centre which hosts many operas, and the elegant Arriaga Theatre. I love the Casco viejo (the old part of the city) with its winding streets and local cafés. You can stop in any small place or village in the Basque Country and eat magnificently and economically with typical dishes, pintxos and wines, but most importantly the people are very welcoming”.
Interview by Emily Cooper, a member of the Society’s Executive Council