Andrew Taheny

Tell us a little bit about yourself and your life. Not necessarily music-related!

I was born and brought up just outside Glasgow, and I now study music at Edinburgh University. I spent a year studying physics and music as I thought I wanted to go into acoustics and sound engineering, but I soon discovered that I loved playing and studying music too much to justify doing anything else! Outside of music I love to read when I can, and I have a semi-unhealthy relationship with my favourite TV shows.

How did you first get into music?

My parents have always been big music fans, so it was unusual for there not to be CDs/records/tapes of their favourite bands/artists playing in the house or car at any given time. My two older sisters both took up the violin and piano while at primary school so it seemed only natural for me to follow suit. Soon, playing in orchestras would become the biggest source of enjoyment and friends in my life throughout all of my time at school!

What made you decide that music would be an important part of your life?

Thanks to my parents, from as far back as I can remember I always loved listening to music. I’ve been through a number of different phases with regards to styles, but they were all important to me in different ways at different times and I’ll still return to them all, although I guess that is the same for a lot of people. In terms of classical music, I have a very clear turning point in my head of playing Rachmaninov 2 with the West of Scotland Schools Symphony Orchestra and Jim Lowe. The concept of playing in orchestras seemed to switch gears in my head at that point- it’s difficult to describe, but the potential to participate and share in something with such emotive energy and power alongside friends as well as new people really seemed to reveal itself there, and after that I couldn’t get enough!

What has been your musical highlight so far?

This probably also comes from WSSSO, specifically the tour we did of Tuscany for their 20th anniversary in the summer of 2016. We played free concerts in amazing indoor and outdoor venues to audiences of locals and passers-by, which was especially memorable for being one of my first opportunities to share music with completely new audiences (ie not just parents, teachers and friends of the orchestra!). In my fifth and final year with the orchestra, being surrounded by those who had become some of my best friends whilst also feeling as though I was connecting musically with audiences of complete strangers in such a stunning setting was so special.

Who are your favourite composers/artists/musicians?

My favourite artists change a lot, and I tend to go through ‘microphases’ where when I find something new, I’ll really obsess over it before adding it to my catalogue… This being said, some longstanding favourites have almost always been Rush and Counting Crows. The same thing goes for composers, although Rachmaninov, Debussy and Finzi spring to mind. Also, if I’m in the right mood I can really get into baroque repertoire, particularly Purcell and Bach. More recently I’ve been listening to more jazz and contemporary music as well. My favourite violinist is probably Maxim Vengerov.

What do you anticipate for the Nevis Ensemble?

I can’t wait to play in lots of unusual and interesting places, connecting with lots of new players and audiences from all walks of life! I love the idea of surprising the public with performances and sharing something with them that will (hopefully!) make their day a little or a lot better than it might have been otherwise.