Interview

Meet the Sinfonia – Bassoon

Llinos Owen plays Bassoon in the Royal Ballet Sinfonia – the orchestra of Birmingham Royal Ballet. With the orchestra currently lifting the roof off the London Coliseum with the mighty Carmina burana, Llinos kindly took time to discuss her life as a musician…

Bassoon Llinos Owen.

How old were you when you first started playing?

I started learning the piano with my grandmother when I was 4, then played the flute briefly and the clarinet, before being intrigued by a smelly old bassoon in a school cupboard when I was 14.

What did you want to be when you were a child, or did you always want to be a musician?
I wanted to be a swimming teacher when I was at primary school, and I don’t think I realised that being a musician could be a real ‘job’ until later on.

How long have you been in the Royal Ballet Sinfonia?
This is my first year in the job.

What’s your favourite ballet music?
Stravinsky’s Rite of Spring – so aggressive and yet so beautiful!

What’s your favourite pop song?
‘Adra’ by Gwyneth Glyn. It’s a Welsh pop song about missing home.

What instrument would you choose to play other than your own?
Anything lighter and easier to carry than bassoon and contra, but I particularly like the sound of the cello and the French horn.

Favourite pit, and favourite concert hall?
I like playing into the acoustic of the Bridgewater hall in Manchester, but I love being at the NCPA in Mumbai because being in India is always exciting. My favourite pit is at the Birmingham Hippodrome because it’s 9 miles from my house.

What’s your favourite touring meal?
Great seafood at Platters restaurant in Plymouth.

How do you relax away from music?
I go sea kayaking mainly in Scotland and Wales and do a bit of bird watching. I enjoy baking, but it’s always a disaster.