Why did you choose the instrument you are playing today?
S.H.: It might not sound very original, but my mother was a cellist, so it was only natural for her to start teaching me when I was four.
A.L.: My mother had played a bit of piano when she was a child, so we had a digital piano at home – that’s the main reason, and not very original either...!
What support does the Queen Elisabeth Music Chapel give you?
S.H.: Studying there not only means regular lessons with great masters (Gary Hoffman, in my case), but also many opportunities for solo, chamber music or orchestral concerts! It’s a big family for me. We all get on really well and there’s a great spirit of camaraderie at the Chapel – we’re always happy to see each other and share concerts between artists in residence.
How are you feeling a few days prior to your concert at Bozar?
S.H.: Happy, and really excited at the idea of playing on an iconic stage, which I have always seen from an audience perspective! It’s a dream come true to perform in a place I’ve been to ever since I was a little girl.
A.L .: As is often the case, there is a mix of emotions. First of all, there’s real excitement at the idea of playing with Stéphanie in Belgium, in this incredible temple of music; a place also connected to the great Queen Elisabeth Competition, an event that I have followed passionately ever since I was a teenager. Then, of course, there is stress associated to the demands and pressure that we put on ourselves as performers, and to the fact that the repertoire we’re performing is mostly new to me!
Can you talk to us about the repertoire?
A.L.: I think it’s a great mix between iconic romantic works of the cello-piano repertoire and modern works that are less famous, rarely performed, and which clearly deserve to be better known (Jolivet’s Nocturne in particular). I must say, it’s a magnificent concert programme!
S.H.: We'll be playing, among others, Brahms’ Second Sonata, which is a pillar of the repertoire for cello and piano, as well as Schumann’s Adagio und Allegro, a work of exquisite sensitivity, and originally written for horn and piano. To complete this fine concert, we will also play some Martinů.
What is the most satisfying thing as a musician?
A.L.: To push yourself to the limit in a work of great artistic depth: in terms of personal investment, sensitivity, stylistic and intellectual reflection, instrumental and mental mastery, letting go and the freedom of interpretation in a concert performance, etc. Some metaphysical works (but not only!) profoundly change you as a performer and as a person; they lift you up and bring an unfathomable inner wealth. It’s an incredible opportunity and a very special feeling, it’s difficult to define... And then there’s also emotional exchange and powerful sharing between performers whether in chamber music or in an orchestra, as well as between musicians and with audience. It’s clearly a huge joy. Also, it’s great to spark new interest in classical music or in a style of repertoire! It’s truly satisfying to provide a strong sensory experience, an emotional jolt that can open doors.
S.H.: To see the emotion and the pleasure in the eyes of the audience after a concert!
What is your guilty pleasure in terms of music?
S.H.: Listening and dancing to electro music with my headphones when I’m alone.
A. L.: Interesting question. Hmm... I have a certain fondness for Tecktonik, the French phenomenon of 2006-2007. A slightly guilty pleasure for sure...
What are your greatest dreams?
A.L.: A life of music, to build a family, to be surrounded by the people I love, to maintain a positive outlook and to simply be happy despite life’s hardships.
S.H.: To build a life that will make me happy, and to continue to share music with the public for as long as possible!