Ahead of its Australian premiere, Bernard Labadie talks to Justine Nguyen about his string arrangement of Bach’s towering Goldberg Variations.
Right now, you’re speaking to me from Sao Pãulo, and soon you’ll be playing all across Australia. Do you thrive on touring? It’s not the touring itself. There’s a very wide range of music I love playing, and so I thrive on the variety. I’ve never been somebody who likes to tour a single program for months. I would find it too boring. [My routine] is getting up early and making myself a coffee – I hope there’s a coffee machine in the room! – and then I sit for an hour reading, thinking and just generally decompressing. I find that incredibly helpful, it clears my head for the day. Then I have breakfast, maybe work out a bit and then practise. I find I can concentrate better if I practise in shorter bursts, two hours at a time. Over the years I’ve realised that there’s a lot of tension in my playing, so I’ve started working more and more to try and release that. That means going slower and slower in practising. Mentally it’s very intensive, but with that kind of concentration I find I need to take fairly frequent breaks. The sheer breadth of repertoire you’re playing in