Interview with John-Henry Till, Bruno’s youngest lettore this year
Brunovox:1st time in Italy?
John-Henry: 2nd time. I was in Parma on Erasmus (good for making international friends, going out with Italian girls, getting to know their families…) not a real academic improvement at Conservatorio Arrigo Boito in spite of Verdi and Parma’s reputation…
John-Henry: I finished my degree and prepared for conservatoire entrance.
Brunovox: so this is your 2nd time Italy, teaching English to Italian teenagers. How do you see them?
John-Henry: As lots of fun. I love their questions. It makes my job a lot more interesting and is a lot more fun when I know there are lots of things the students want to learn from me.
John-Henry: Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, which is the third novel in the Harry Potter series written by J. K. Rowling
I’m reading it in Italian.
Brunovox:Why no.7 (Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows )?
John-Henry: they are all about the fight between good and evil, an interesting subject, but no.7 is more readable because the Dark Lord (You know Who) proves he can actually kill people, therefore proving how evil he actually is. No.7 has pace – you can’t wait for the next chapter…
John-Henry: the first part of the last Harry Potter film (Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows).
Brunovox:what are you doing at the week-end?
John-Henry: More Harry Potter… I’m the HP generation, I was 16 when Harry was 16. Besides I come from Gloucester whose cathedral provided the location for filming the 1st, 2nd, and 6th HP films.
Brunovox:family and background?
John-Henry: I’m the third of five children and we all do different things. My mother and brother are geologists, my older sister is a nurse, I am a musician, my younger sister is a Third World aid worker and my youngest sister is very 21st century.
John-Henry: a good full Sunday roast with my family consisting of chicken, roast potatoes, vegetables, gravy, stuffing and Yorkshire puddings! Wow, I’m getting home sick just thinking about it!
Brunovox:high school memories?
John-Henry: I remember locking myself away in the music rooms at lunchtimes so that I could practice the piano and write music. One time another student wanted to come in and I didn’t want to let him because he just wanted to play computer games but I got told off for it!
Brunovox: could you tell us more about your music training?
John-Henry: I have actually had very little music training. Neither of my parents are musical and coming from a poor background I didn’t have much specialist training. I have been playing the piano, however, for more than 10 years, I love to sing as it keeps me sane and while I play a lot of Chopin I also find him very depressing so I try and play some jazz to balance him out!
Brunovox:music teachers, teaching systems, personal tutors, while studying at Newcastle University?
John-Henry: in Newcastle I studied Palestrina (Renaissance music), Chopin (theory of), Chopin (Performance), World Musics, Ethnomusicology, Music Analysis, Harmony and Aural skills 1 and 2, the trumpet and several music groups – some for assessment, others not. My personal tutor David Clarke is a friend of the programme director I want to study with in Cambridge so I hope his advice on how to handle the situation worked out well!
Brunovox:we heard you were due in Cambridge for an important interview a short time ago, what are your expectations, plans?
John-Henry: Ha! I would love to plan my life but many times things happen that are out of my control. For now I will say that I would like to go to Cambridge. If they don’t accept me I would like to go to Amsterdam. If neither of them accepts me I will have to think again about what my next step can be.
Brunovox: your research topic?
John-Henry: I would love to study Verdi and Risorgimento, though I would also love to study Dvorak, Rachmaninoff and Tchaikovsky – the Romantic composers basically. However, I always have the most fun singing jazz music and working with jazz musicians as there you can be as creative as your imagination lets you be!
Brunovox:how do you like modern music?
John-Henry: Apparently you are closed minded if you don’t like modern music! I like lots of music from the Romantics but it doesn’t mean universities will let me study it! And if I have to study it all on my own, what’s the point of going to University???
Brunovox:happiest memory ever?
John-Henry: my ‘Patronus’ (keeping in style with the Harry Potter theme) would have to be my month in Perugia in September 2009. The whole month was one continual memory of fantastic things that I remember with great fondness.
Brunovox:Where do you imagine your future? Doing what? Who with?
John-Henry: Always the difficult questions! I don’t know where my future will take me, but I would like to see myself on an important stage performing for an important event in Britain, singing to an audience on television with the support of the most professional jazz band in the UK. There I would make my happiest memory ever.
John-Henry: If I am lucky I will learn a couple of other languages in my lifetime, but that will depend on whom I meet and how they make me think :-)