Yeoman Spotlight – Aleksandra Henszel
Yeoman Spotlight – Aleksandra Henszel
Aleksandra Henszel is an award-winning flautist and a recipient of The Musicians’ Company RCM Lambert Scholarship. A graduate of the Feliks Nowowiejski School of Music, Royal Conservatoire of Scotland and Royal College of Music, Aleksandra has performed at world-famous concert halls including the Elbphilarmonie Hamburg, Konzerthaus Berlin and Royal Albert Hall.
When did you first pick up the flute?
I first started playing the flute when I was eight years old. I had already been playing the recorder for two years by then and I was very excited about making music on this new shiny instrument with so many keys. The first try was harder than I expected – although the fingerings were similar to the recorder, the amount of air I needed to make a sound felt like a thousand times bigger!
Is there a piece of music that made you fall in love with your instrument?
When I was very young I won a CD with works for flute and guitar by Piazzolla and I remember how the sound of the flute completely blew my mind. And then I heard Rimsky-Korsakov’s Scheherazade and Poulenc’s Flute Sonata and well, I’ve never wanted to play any other instrument since!
Your twitter bio describes you as a ‘(constantly) travelling musician’. Where is home?
Everyone knows the saying ‘home is where your heart is’ – I feel very lucky to have been able to leave my heart not in one, but in three places over the years. I grew up in the lovely Polish port city of Szczecin, Poland where my musical journey began. Since my family’s move to London in 2006 this wonderful city has gradually become my home too – I like to think I don’t always need a map to get around! I lived in Glasgow between 2010-14 which is when I fell in love with the beautiful country that Scotland is and now I really do feel that’s where my second (or third?) home is. Will there be more homes for me? I can’t wait to find out…
What have been your most memorable musical experiences?
There have always been two things I love the most – music and travel – and I feel so lucky to have been able to combine them in my life as a musician. Performing the full ballet version of Ravel’s Daphnis et Chloé with Schleswig-Holstein Music Festival Orchestra at Elbphilharmonie Hamburg and playing completely solo in the middle of the piece to over 2,000 intently listening people was very special. Working side-by-side with players from the Simón Bolívar Symphony Orchestra and Gustavo Dudamel a few years back is another highlight. And of course, performing with fellow RCM students and singers from Opera Australia at a Gala at Buckingham Palace!
2018/2019 has been a busy year for you. Any standout moments?
Last summer I had the pleasure of performing at the BBC Proms with the BBC Symphony Orchestra at the Royal Albert Hall for the first time which was quite a big deal for me since it’s my favourite hall in the world. How delighted I was to find I was to do it again within a year! I performed on the big stage again in March, this time working on a colossal project ‘Convo’ in collaboration with the RCM, RAH and Tri-Borough Music Hub.
You’ve performed at some of the world’s best concert halls. Which is your favourite and why?
It is the Royal Albert Hall… I have a great sentiment for it since I have watched so many of my favourite orchestras, shows and acts perform there since I was just a girl. I remember sitting somewhere really far up, admiring the beautiful interior of the hall, in awe of its size, looking at the perfectly calm musicians on stage and dreaming that one day maybe I would get to perform there and it would be my turn to amaze someone there, in the far up seats.
What projects are you currently working on?
I have been busy preparing and arranging repertoire for my new flute, violin, viola and cello quartet, Ombra. I am very excited to share our work with the world soon so watch this space! I am also actively involved in a couple of Outreach Programme projects run by The Musicians’ Company which is an amazing opportunity to explore the impact that music has on all of us.
What are you most looking forward to this year?
The summer! I am usually extremely busy with performances during the summer months but this year I am also going to make time for my other passion – travel. Hopefully I will be able to combine both this time!
Where can people find out more about you?
Most of my updates are easy to find on my Twitter profile: @Ola_Henszel and Instagram: olahenszel. My quartet’s videos, recordings and adventures can also be found on Twitter: @ombraquartet and Instagram: ombra.quartet
Interview by @suzywillmott