Interview: Air Miles with Roberto Sorrentino

31 Oct 2019 by Hannah Brandler
Roberto Sorrentino

Roberto Sorrentino is a cellist at the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra.

What attracted you to a career in music?

An enthusiastic music teacher who played all sorts of music to us at school.

Have you discovered new music on your travels?

Yes, I played and improvised with a group of Arabic musicians accompanying a belly dancer last year. I listened to lots of Arabic music before I went and really loved the sounds and rhythms of that culture.

Where did you last travel to?

Bratislava, Austria and Belarus with the wonderful Royal Philharmonic Orchestra.

What's your favourite venue?

Carnegie Hall for its acoustics and backstage photos on the wall of so many incredible artists that have performed there – Beniamino Gigli, Enrico Caruso and The Beatles to name a few.

What has been your most unusual experience abroad?

Probably when the orchestra’s luggage got lost and we had to play a concert wearing the clothes we were in. I wore shorts and an old T-shirt in front of a very posh and well-dressed Swiss audience. It was quite liberating not wearing my tails.

What's your favourite piece to play?

Mozart’s Symphony No.40.

What have been the most rewarding moments of your career?

Being on stage with [Argentine pianist] Martha Argerich and being two feet away from Pavarotti singing Neapolitan folk songs.

What have been the most challenging parts of your job?

Performing with terrible jet lag in Tokyo and pinching myself to stay awake in a long, slow and sleepy movement.

Is it difficult to travel with instruments?

Travelling with an old and valuable instrument can be a nightmare for a musician. Some airlines are okay, but I’ve heard some horror stories about instruments getting damaged.

What's your dream destination?

Anywhere in South America.

What are your indispensable travel gadgets?

My iPhone and plug adaptor so that I can listen to The Archers.

What's your in-flight entertainment pick?

Listening to Steely Dan, or watching a good old movie.



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