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20 questions for Fandango’s Simon Rivet

Le Quatuor Fandango: de gauche à droite, J. Geisterfer, R.-A. Martinez-Lissow, T.-E. Hinse-Paré, S. Rivet  

Pre-performance ritual:
Nothing special, just the usual routine of an alert guitarist: filing nails, tuning, finger exercises, followed by 10 minutes of meditation before the performance.

My age at first musical awakening:
I grew up in a musical family, so listening to music has been very important ever since I was very young. I took violin lessons between the ages of 5 and 10, but I cared more about electronic music (to which I had been introduced by the remarkable group Eiffel 65!) and rock. My awakening to classical music really came at the age of 17, when I was admitted to the Conservatoire de musique de Gatineau and discovered the music of Johann Sebastian Bach.

Hobby not related to music:
I love the outdoors. I like hiking and canoeing so that I can spend time alone and refresh my thoughts.

Thing about me that would surprise people:
I have a horror of chewing gum. Its smell, its texture, the way you look when you’re chewing it …honestly, nothing about it attracts me. When my friends take sticks of gum out of their pockets they know there’s no need to share any with me.

“I listen to music when ….”
When I’m getting ready for bed. Almost every night, before falling asleep, I settle down in bed with my headphones and have a listening session. That’s how I get intimate knowledge of the music I discover.

Favourite thing about working with ATMA:
Uarekena was my first experience working with a professional recording label. What struck me the most was the efficiency with which the team worked, especially when it came to recording tracks. They had their way of doing things. All we had to concern ourselves with was playing our pieces as well as we could. Their team looked after everything else. That being said, making a CD is a team project, and every member of the team should discuss his or her own vision of the final product with the other members. Communication with ATMA was very easy, and our suggestions were always given due consideration. We’re all still mildly astonished by the speed with which the simple idea of a first CD became, in just a few months, a concrete reality, and one far better than we had hoped for!

Favourite recording:
To choose one would be to reject far too many others, so I’ll resign myself to choosing three: Spirit of Eden by Talk Talk, Tryshasla by an electronic artist called Secede, and Jessye Norman’s recording of the Four Last Songs.

Most memorable live musical moment:
Playing in the new concert hall of the Maison symphonique de Montréal on its open-house day. We were quite young then, and expected we would have to play in the corridors for passers-by. In reality we had to play in the concert hall in front of 800 people. Let’s say we were happily surprised!

If you could travel back in time, what specific musical moment would you want to witness?
If I could travel back in time, a specific musical event I would like to attend would be the premiere of Nijinsky’s ballet, L’après-midi d’un faune.

Please finish this sentence: “On performance days, I avoid ….”
Getting my fingers crushed by a door.

Most treasured possession:
My headphones.

If you had not become a professional musician, what career would you have pursued?
I would probably have tried my luck working in film.

Most memorable interaction with a member of the audience following one of my concerts:
Every time my mother came to congratulate me with kisses.

Favourite composer:
Debussy, closely followed by Töru Takemitsu.

Essential item in your suitcase when travelling for concerts:
My sound recorder. Over the past year I’ve developed a wicked passion for recording ambient sounds I find interesting. If not that, a hacky sack for the down time.

What are you reading at the moment?
I’ve just finished The Unbearable Lightness of Being by Milan Kundera, and Coelho I’ll start on his Ignorance as soon as I’ve finished re-reading The Alchmist by Paulo Coelho.

Favourite quote or poem:
“A man is born gentle and weak; at his death he is hard and stiff. All things, including the grass and trees, are soft and pliable in life; dry and brittle in death. Stiffness is thus a companion of death; flexibility a companion of life … The hard and stiff will be broken; the soft and supple will prevail.” Tao Te Ching, Lao Tzu.

Best thing about being a musician:
I consider that I’m still studying, but I do so by sharing with friends.

Which talent (in addition to music) would you most like to have?
I always wanted to be a good dancer, but these days I don’t have many dance moves.

Your Anniversary wish for ATMA Classique?
Another 20 years of high-quality recordings and, in the future, more collaborative projects with us!