Meet the Sixteen's bass Ben as he discusses challenging repertoire, football and smoked salmon
What is your favourite Sixteen anecdote?
Unfortunately, of the many to choose from, none are suitable for putting in print.
What do you do to relax in your spare time?
I have three children so there’s not much spare time. When I do get some time to myself I like baking and then leaving the washing-up for my wife.
If you could perform in any venue, what / where would it be?
When I was studying in London I paid my way with ushering jobs at the Royal Opera House and Wigmore Hall. I’ve since sung a few times at the Wigmore but never at the ROH. Maybe one day!
Is there a piece you have fallen in love with since performing it with The Sixteen?
The pieces that stay with me are those epic works from the English Renaissance: Gaude Gloriosa by Tallis, Media Vita by Sheppard, Peccavimus cum patribus nostris by Tye and Infelix Ego by Byrd. But the one that I can listen to again and again is the Parsons, O bone jesu.
What has been the most challenging piece of music you have ever performed?
Without a doubt it was Messiaen’s Cinq Rechants which we performed at the Queen Elizabeth Hall. It is a fabulous piece but I don’t know if I got any of the notes right. Coincidentally, up until then the hardest thing I had done on stage was pageturning for a performance of Messiaen’s Vingt Regards sur l’Enfant-Jésus. Two hours of terror!
Do you have a party trick and if so, what is it?!
Nowadays I am more likely to fall asleep at parties than do any tricks.
What do you think you would be doing if you weren’t a musician?
I think I would probably be an airline pilot or something practical like a carpenter.
What would your ultimate desert island disc be?
Homogenic by Björk. Lots of good memories.
What would you eat for your last supper?
Eggs Benedict with smoked salmon.
And the obligatory question…What football team do you support?!
I liked watching the Thame United Under-6s when my son was playing. All the children tried to play in every position at the same time. It was a bit like watching iron filings being pulled around on a piece of paper. I don’t like any other football teams.