Bogdan Vacarescu (violin) and Heidi Parsons (cello) are the latest performers in the Amici Concert series with a date at St Pancras Church, Eastgate Square, Chichester on Thursday, May 20 at 7.30pm.
The duo, whose programme will include music by Ravel, Bach, Honneger and Halvorsen, met with scholarships at London’s Royal Academy of Music.
“We were at the Royal Academy of Music together in about 2001,” Bogdan explains. “We were not in the same year, but we knew each other from there. We started doing quartets work together and did quite a few different jobs together. And then eventually we thought it would be good to do some violin and cello work together. It’s just easier to move around when there are two of you and easier to find time for rehearsals”.
The combination works because of their differences, Bogdan believes.
“We always make it work, but we are so different in style, even in how we dress. She is quite careful and nice and girly. I am a bit more of a cross-over between rocky and almost wilfully trying to break the patterns. I am the rebel, and she is the good girl. But that is good!”
They have also had different career paths: “I have always wanted to explore different types of music and other areas of music as soon as I finished at the Academy.”
An early big break came with Nigel Kennedy.
“My first experience apart from classical was in 96. I played with Nigel Kennedy on his Jimi Hendrix arrangements. It was just amazing. They were really long hours, but it was great. Back then I was in the World Youth Orchestra, and I was doing all the Tchaikovskys and Mahlers and Beethovens, and then all of a sudden, the director of the orchestra came to me and said would I like to work with Nigel Kennedy. I just said ‘Get out of here!’ I couldn’t believe it. But he said to me ‘I can find someone else if you don’t want to do it.’ I said I wanted to do it!
“It was so easy even though it was something totally new to me, to perform things like that. I knew only a couple of songs by Jimi Hendrix, and even then I didn’t know that one of them was actually by him. But Nigel was great to work with. I was very confused what to call him at first, and so I said ‘Mr Kennedy’, and he just looked as me as if to say ‘What are you talking about!’
“Since then I wanted to explore other areas. That’s when I got to play with the comedy string quartet, Graffiti Classics. One of their violins was dropping out, and I did that for five or six years. That was great fun because we were doing all the classics. Everything you could think of that was popular in classical music we were doing, but always with a twist. It was also great because of all the work we were doing with children. We were doing lots of workshops with them.”
In more recent years, Bogdan has been working with the Balkan Band Paprika, with whom he returns to Chichester for the Festival of Chichester with a date on Sunday, July 5 at 3pm, again in the Amici Concerts series, this time at Halnaker Park Cottage, far end of Park Lane, Halnaker, near Chichester, PO18 0QH. Tickets for both of Bogdan’s Chichester’s appearances on www.chichestertickets.co.uk or 01243 813595.