1. Three pieces of music you couldn’t live without?

To only be able to name three pieces of music feels like torture, so I won’t even try. I don’t think anyone can live without music.


2. Why the cello?

It’s in our nature to relate to the cello, it has a very human voice. But I guess I was given the cello at six years of age with the hope of forming a family piano trio with my brother and sister.

3. Who are your musical heroes?

The music teachers and educators I had (free) access to when growing up in Finland.

4. Best thing about playing Brahms’ Double Concerto?

There is something about the dialogue of the two soloists that I find intriguing.

5. Worst thing about playing Brahms’ Double Concerto?

The worst thing would be if the two soloists weren’t able to communicate effectively.

6. Most overrated composer?

I can’t compose myself, so I don’t feel comfortable expressing that sort of judgement (at least publicly).

7. Three pieces of music you’d happily never hear again?

Same answer as question No 1 – but I’d happily live without elevator music, or music specifically composed to be elevator music.

8. All-time favourite food?

Andrew McConnell’s New England Lobster Roll from Supernormal or Sujet Saenkham’s Roast Duck Massaman at Spice I Am. And (this goes without saying) anything that mum cooks at home.

9. Most awkward moment on stage?

Well there was one occasion where my chair broke onstage mid-performance…! We were performing a late Beethoven string quartet and during a frantic passage right at the end my chair broke from underneath me. I fell backwards on the third last chord, jumped up from the floor (still maintaining perfect playing position), and managed to be standing up victoriously for the last two chords. Although it is a funny memory it is categorised as an awkward moment in my mind…

10. Any clichés about cellists that really bug you?

The ones that don’t apply to me.

11. An instrument you envy?

The double bass or perhaps the organ. There is something about the foundation of sound those instruments create that is very pleasing. The cello is agile and can manage a wide range of techniques and sounds, but some of those very low and deep fundamentals we can’t do.

12. If you weren’t a musician what would you do?

*insert sound of crickets*

13. Six famous people you’d like to invite for dinner?

Kylie Kwong, Samin Nosrat, Nancy Silverton, Maggie Beer, Alice Waters and Ana Roš.

14. A historical person you’d like to go on a date with?

Liisa, my partner [ACO violinist Liisa Pallandi]. She’s a hysterical person.

15. Top five favourite films?

Night on Earth (directed by Jim Jarmusch)

Life is Beautiful (directed by Roberto Benigni)

Calamari Union (directed by Aki Kaurismäki)

Ok I tried, impossible, three will do. I could name so many, but these three are special.

16. Last book you couldn’t put down?

Samin Nosrat’s Salt, Fat, Acid, Heat.

17. What do you do to unwind?

Cook at home.

18. Three guilty pleasures?

Ritter Sport Chocolate with Cornflakes

Cheezels (I know, horrible…)

Vodka martini, dry with olives (sometimes with both olives and a twist. I know, crazy…)

19. Your proudest moment?

Finns aren’t very proud of themselves. At most they feel proud for someone else.

20. Your biggest bucket list item?

Travel. It’s a privilege to be able to travel and experience new places. I want to travel more locally and sustainably.

Timo-Veikko Valve performs Brahms’ Double Concerto with Richard Tognetti and the Australian Chamber Orchestra, touring nationally November 9 – 22