Antonio Perez-Barrera, MMus Clarinet

Do you have a favourite type of music?

I really enjoy playing Romantic repertoire. For me, the Brahms sonatas are the best pieces written for the clarinet. I also really like modern music, it’s fun to play.

You are from Spain. How have you adjusted to life in England?

Yes, I studied my undergraduate degree at the Conservatorio Superior de Música in Seville. One of the reasons I wanted to study at the RNCM was because I could keep studying with Antonio Salguero, who was my teacher in Spain. He is still teaching in Seville but he comes to Manchester twice a month to teach here as well. It was slightly strange changing the language to English in the group classes, because I was obviously used to speaking to him in Spanish *laughs*. I’m also studying with Nicholas Cox, so it’s great to get another perspective as well.

What have been some highlights from your time here?

My first year at the RNCM I won first prize in the Solo Competition and was recently awarded a Yamaha Music Foundation of Europe Scholarship Award. In terms of performance opportunities, earlier this year the RNCM Symphony Orchestra collaborated with the Paris Conservatoire Symphony Orchestra. That was great, we got to go to Paris, meet all the Parisian students and play really interesting repertoire. I’d been to Paris before but a long time ago, so it was nice to go back. In November I also did a 10-day tour with the Mahler Chamber Orchestra. We went to Cologne, Essen and Dortmund and played Mahler’s Symphony No 1 and Alban Berg’s Violin Concerto with Isabelle Faust. The College organised a workshop for students and then I did an audition by video recording, and finally I was selected to take part. It was just me from the RNCM but there were students from Spain as well as other cities in Germany… I really enjoyed the experience, I learnt a lot just listening to the professional musicians and how they communicate their musical ideas to each other with just a look. It was really inspiring.

How do you like Manchester?

Yeah, I love being here in Manchester because there are so many performance opportunities. There is always something going on. There are so many orchestras and festivals to get involved in, which is very inspiring and exciting for me to develop as a musician. I do find I have to be very organised and think ahead about the repertoire I’m working on throughout the year in order to take full advantage of all the performance opportunities and be prepared for auditions as they arise; not necessarily a bad thing!

What are your future plans?

Next month I’m performing the Copland Clarinet Concerto at Storyhouse in Chester with the Northern Ballet Sinfonia; I’m really excited. I got the opportunity through College after I was shortlisted in last year’s Concerto Competition. After graduation I will be doing more auditions for various projects between the UK and Spain.