Magazine article Gramophone

Nick Robinson: The Former BBC Political Editor and Current Presenter of the Today Programme Talks about Concerts, Playing the Piano and His Love of Opera

Magazine article Gramophone

Nick Robinson: The Former BBC Political Editor and Current Presenter of the Today Programme Talks about Concerts, Playing the Piano and His Love of Opera

Article excerpt

My father played the piano--the Chopin waltzes and nocturnes were his favourites. His mother could have been a professional concert pianist, she was that good, so there was a lot of music in his house, and subsequently in ours. Even before Classic FM, my dad realised that music could be therapeutic. He'd come back knackered from a high-stress job, open a bottle of wine and put on a record. Those were the days when you listened to music without distractions. I remember visiting my grandparents, who lived abroad, and the main room was full of books on one side and LPs (mainly DG ones) on the other. We'd have lunch and then my grandfather would put on a record, close his eyes and listen.

Growing up, we all had piano lessons, but we loathed our teacher who was very traditional and would spank us with a ruler if our wrists dropped. Then we changed to a family friend who was a real giggle--most lessons ended up with fits of laughter over how incredibly bad I was at scales and arpeggios. I got to Grade Five though! But I didn't play for years until recently; I was unwell for a bit, and started thinking about how to get more balance back into my life. Ed Balls lives pretty close to us and I chatted to him about how he'd taken up the piano quite late and loved it. I asked him if his teacher would take me on and, for a little while, she would go to his house and then walk round the corner to me. I started to learn the pieces my dad played me, and I really did enjoy it. But I have a very unpredictable schedule ...

I'm so excited that my kids are into music in a way I never was. With my generation, there was this idea of 'dad music' your parents would either listen to pop music or classical but not both, so you'd avoid what you knew they liked. My kids have picked up that you can like everything. Spotify has helped in that regard--they all use my account and have told me how it's introduced them to new things. But mostly I credit Richard Frostick, the music teacher who founded the brilliant, inspiring Islington Music Centre. All three of my kids sang there from the age of six, and it's given them brilliant opportunities; the choir has performed at No 10 and the Proms.

I tend to go to the Proms every year, to at least two or three concerts including, if I'm lucky, a First or Last Night. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.