Sue Hawthorne


How long have you been a member of the BPO?
12 years.

What inspired you to take up your instrument?
I played the piano and I wanted to learn to play the cello or the oboe after playing percussion in “Noyes Fludde” by Britten. My music teacher said there were no oboes or cellos left but there was no one to play the double bass. Because I am fairly small I said’ That would be a laugh!’ and the die was cast. My first orchestral outing was Beethoven’s Symphony No 1 – I just cried my way through it because I couldn’t believe I was in the middle of this wonderful sound and I was hooked. My parents bought Nellie, my bass, when I was 15 and I have never wanted to play anything else. I simply love it.

How did you come to join the orchestra?
BPO were looking for bass players and, through a mutual friend, Ken Hewitt passed on my name.

Most treasured occasion with the BPO?
Too difficult to name just one. Berlioz’ “Grande Messe des Morts“ in Colston Hall, Bristol, Tchaikovsky’s Symphony No 6, Richard Strauss’ “Ein Heldenleben” and “Death and Transfiguration”, Mahler’s Symphonies No 2, 5 and 6.

Any moments you’d rather forget?
None that I can remember.

Favourite composers?
BPO has taught me to appreciate Mahler, Sibelius and Shostakovitch but I still love Beethoven and Mozart from piano days.

Least favourite composer?
Mendelssohn – wonderful music but challenging, somewhat unsympathetic, parts for basses.

Work(s) you’d like to play before you die?
Still on a learning curve.

The Orchestra <<<

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