Chloë Hanslip

The British violinist talks about film music, the Proms… and performing in a shopping centre

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Violinist Chloe Hanslip performed in her first Prom at the age of 14. This year she’s appearing both in the main festival (on 12 August) and also with the BBC Symphony Orchestra in Proms Out & About, a free concert in Westfield shopping centre, London on 21 June. But it’s not the strangest venue she’s ever played in…

Have you been involved in projects like this before?
I’ve performed in schools and places like that, but not a shopping centre – it’s certainly going to be quite an experience. But I’ve performed on top of a mountain before now for television! A shopping centre seems like a fairly logical place really, to really draw people in, get them excited about music and to bring the music to more and more people. I think it’s also important that people realize that classical music isn’t just for one particular group of people. It can speak to everybody – it doesn’t matter how old or young you are.

What will you be playing?
I’m playing the theme from Schindler’s List by John Williams. It was actually one of the first things that I ever recorded when I was 13 so it’s nice to go back to that 10 years later. I remember I was so excited by the recording – it was with the London Symphony Orchestra, in their studios, and it was my first CD.

What kind of repertoire do you most enjoy playing?
That’s a very difficult question to answer. I adore performing concertos. There’s nothing quite like standing on stage with 70 or so people behind you and being able to really make music. And then chamber music as well – doing recitals, performing in piano trios and quartets – is so intimate and so exciting because you can really get down to all the minute details. In terms of actual repertoire, I love performing the more Romantic music: Tchaikovsky, Brahms and Barber – all those sort of things – but I’ve also been doing quite a lot of modern music recently as well.

The Proms Out & About concert will feature a ‘funky version’ of Handel’s Hallelujah Chorus. Do you think you can over-popularize classical music?
I don’t think so. This is a very different concert but it’s a wonderful opportunity to be able to bring the music to more people. For me personally I love to play the straight classical and modern music but I think all forms of classical music that get to a wider audience are wonderful. It’s important to show that classical musicians aren’t these austere figures up on stage.

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