Carys Evans, Horn
When did you start to play the horn? I started playing the horn aged 9, before going to Chetham’s Sschool of music at 10! I’d played the trumpet for a couple of years already but during my audition for Chet’s I was advised to choose one or other. No regrets!
Do you play any other instruments? I studied piano fairly seriously as a second study for 8 years whilst at Chet’s, although haven’t had any lessons since so I’m not sure I’d be fit for public.
Where did you study? I studied at the Royal Academy of Music, doing 4 years as an undergraduate.
When did you first play with Sinfonia Cymru? I started playing with Sinfonia Cymru in 2015 after an audition held at the Royal Academy! I still remember that so clearly, it was at 9 in the morning and I had to bring out the emergency HELP ME mouthpiece because the excerpts were so high and I’m definitely not at my finest at 9am.. Thankfully it turned out well!
What do you like about working with Sinfonia Cymru? Without doubt my favourite thing about working with Sinfonia Cymru is that it feels like such a collaborative environment. There’s not one voice we have to agree to and follow – it feels like every player is equally valid and respected. I also love how diverse it is, each project is unique and that makes it so rewarding for us as players, as well as regular audience members.
What is your favourite Sinfonia Cymru moment? I have two! I can’t possibly choose because they’re WILDLY different. My first was the recording sessions/launch tour of our Birdsong/Can Yr Adar album with Gwilym Simcock and Kizzy Crawford. My heart is firmly in jazz music and I loved being able to explore that side of things within a more classical chamber music environment. It was such a lovely group of musicians, I loved working with such amazing players and friends.
The second is our trip to Abu Dhabi to perform Tosca at the Festival over there. I LOVE opera, and Puccini in particular. After years of playing it in excerpt auditions Tosca was so brilliant to tick off the list!
What is your favourite musical moment elsewhere? As I mentioned earlier my heart is with jazz music, so I’d have to say some of my happiest moments have been performing that. My standout moment is working with Quincy Jones last year, but I also toured with Hans Zimmer on his ‘Hans Zimmer Live’ show which was such an experience. It’s hard to choose between icons! I’m extremely grateful to have worked with such unbelievable musicians, they were both pinch me moments.
What do you most like about being a professional musician? I love that it doesn’t feel like a job. I still can’t believe I get to do this for a living, it’s crazy! I think it’s probably quite rare and special to be able to go to work and just do what you love and hang out with the best people all day (and then get paid for it?!) I also love that every day is so different. I absolutely love that one night I’ll be performing in a hiphop show and the next morning I’m rehearsing Strauss. It’s never boring!
When you’re not playing with Sinfonia Cymru what other orchestras, ensembles or projects are you involved with? I currently have a job on the Lion King, so we do 8 shows a week. I’m really lucky that I am able to take time off in order to work on other projects alongside, which keeps playing Circle of Life fresh too! These days I tend to work more on commercial/other non-classical avenues of music, so I play with a group with a nightclub residency, dep on various shows and also do some recording sessions which I really enjoy. Having such a broad range really makes me appreciate playing in more classical chamber/orchestral settings – classical orchestral music will always be my first love!
What are your three favourite pieces of music, and why?
- Spartacus: Adagio of Spartacus and Phrygia by Khachaturian – I think this is just the MOST beautiful piece, it gives me goosebumps every time I listen to it (a lot).
- Love of My Life by Nils Landgren – I’m obsessed with Nils Landgren, I think he’s so brilliant. If you haven’t heard of him, check him out! I love his trombone playing on this track, but his voice is amazing too. I think he has such a distinctive style unlike anything else I’ve heard.
- Blue Room by Chet Baker – give me anything Chet Baker and I’m sold. If I had to choose one artist only to listen to for the rest of life, he’d be it!
What’s an interesting fact about yourself? I’m a qualified interior designer! I love interior design and always said if for some reason I couldn’t play music anymore then that’s the avenue I’d go down. I had some spare time on tour for a few years (most days I don’t start work ‘til 7.30pm!) so thought I’d get ahead of the game and did an open university with the National Design Academy. I’m currently a year into renovating my cottage and hopefully putting it to good use!