Tim is first violinist with the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra.
Who or what were the main influences on your decision to pursue a career in music?
I was enthralled by the sound of a large orchestra right from when I was taken to a BSO concert in the Guildhall at the age of six. By the age of seven I had pestered my parents to give me a violin. I was lucky to have marvellous teachers in Benny Freeman and Sam Coats of Court Hill First School in Cosham. Many of their alumnae are still playing in great orchestras today. From the Hampshire Specialist Music School in Winchester (now Peter Symmonds College) I went to Trinity College (now Trinity Laban) in London, and then secured a permanent position with the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra (BSO) in 1986, where I’ve been ever since.
Who or what have been the most important influences on your musical life?
The BSO itself! It’s a fantastic orchestra to play with: there’s a huge variety of music, from film nights, Viennese music, Christmas music through to opera. It very much benefits from having Kirill Karabits as its conductor: he’s so exciting and innovative to work with, and introduces the orchestra to so many new works. There’s a great feeling of teamwork within the orchestra.
What is your most memorable concert experience?
In Berlioz’s Harold in Italy, two violinists and a cellist walk off and then play a short snippet from the wings. I was one of the two violinists who had to do this a few years ago, which took some courage! I’ve also broken a few violin strings in my time – this causes quite a bang, and it’s quite a challenge to fit a new one with the minimum of commotion and then being able to find the right place in the music!
What advice would you give to those who are considering a career in music?
Be prepared for an irregular lifestyle: such a career has plenty of travel and anti-social hours, but it is an extremely colourful one! And don’t think about embarking on it unless you think you will really enjoy it! Prepare for any audition with plenty of practice beforehand.
What is your most treasured possession?
A Benjamin Banks violin, made in 1774 in Salisbury. I know its history and the fact that it has not travelled very far, in fact it’s remained in Dorset most of its life! It has a wonderful mellow tone, comparable to a rustic English apple.
I also treasure my bicycle and motorcycle. In fact I often make my own way to concert venues with my violin on the back of the motorcycle. I am a volunteer motorcycle rider (a “blood biker”) for Serv Wessex, ferrying around equipment, supplies and samples for al the NHS Hospitals within Hampshire, South Wiltshire and Dorset.
As riders, we receive no money for riding, or petrol money for any rides, no matter how far the distance or the time it takes. We ride because it’s a great cause, close to all our hearts, and we all enjoy riding!
If you would like to donate, please go to the Serv Wessex website.