At only 32, Charlie Siem has garnered worldwide recognition, performing internationally with some of the world’s finest orchestras and chamber ensembles, including the London Symphony Orchestra, Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, Camerata Salzburg and Israel Philharmonic.
Not only will he be performing at The New Generation Festival in Florence this summer, but he is also Artistic Director at the classical music, opera and theatre festival, a visiting professor at various universities and ambassador of the Prince’s Trust. He has also modelled for brands including Dior and Giorgio Armani to boot, after being discovered during a performance in Cuba by Mario Testino.
Is this your first year playing with The New Generation festival or were you involved last year as well?
I was artistic director last year and we have a much more ambitious festival planned for this summer so I’m very excited!
What is your favourite thing about the festival?
We are supporting young artists and investing in the next generation of talent which gives the festival a fresh and vibrant feeling, as well as celebrating the amazing city of Florence, where I have lived for the last few years, by using some of its most beautiful places to stage our performances.
Do you have a single favourite composer? And if so, why?
There is such a breadth of genius that choosing a favourite is not easy, especially as what I listen to very much depends on my mood. Having said that, Brahms is a composer who manages to evoke such drama and be so expressive without pandering to over indulgence or excessive sentimentality—I am profoundly moved by his musical language.
Also Bach, for the purity and clarity of his brilliance. Mozart, Mahler, Prokofiev… you see, it isn’t easy!
What was it like performing with The Who and Miley Cyrus?
I loved it—The Who are iconic and I love their music, so to perform on stage with them was incredible. I enjoy challenging myself with things that are outside of my day to day discipline and working with such a diverse range of musicians keeps me fresh and inspired.
A true renaissance man, we hear you’re also a professor, where and how did this come about?
I was asked to be a professor at Leeds Music College as well as Nanjing University of the Arts in China. It is rewarding to work with young musicians and I learn a lot from trying to help improve their playing and interpretation of the music.
What are your plans for the future? World domination?
I hope to enjoy my life to the full and find the fun in everything that I do.