musicmakers: Barbara Hannigan, soprano and conductor

An exclusive video podcast hosted by James Jolly

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Barbara Hannigan

James Jolly — Host

Program notes

In a crowded field that sees many gifted performers struggle to stand out at the top, Barbara Hannigan distinguishes herself absolutely and effortlessly—by being herself. "I have to be absolutely authentic," she explains. "I cannot try to be a good girl, I cannot try to be a good conductor, I cannot try to follow the rules—because there are no rules, except to be authentic to oneself. And then, if I’m authentic to myself, 95% of the time the orchestra understands completely.”

A true original whose soaring, astonishingly agile soprano voice has adorned many a world premiere, and the extremely rare singer of her calibre who has also become one of the best conductors in the world, Hannigan speaks with Gramophone's James Jolly about the inadequacy of labels; the challenges and delights of working closely with contemporary composers; catching the conducting bug in 2012; her love for Haydn and her late, longtime collaborator Reinbert de Leeuw; the importance of eating well on the road; jumping in ice baths after taxing performances of Lulu; and plenty more.

Presented with the generous support of Madame Aline Foriel-Destezet.

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