Violinist Jorge Jimenez aims to keep classical casual

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The very last thing Jorge Jimenez (violin) wants is any suggestion he’s somehow inflicting his concert on you – something he feels happens far too often in classical music.

You can expect total informality and fun when he offers an evening of authentic Spanish music as part of the Hanover Band programme for this year’s Arundel Festival.

Music, tapas and a glass of cava are all included in your ticket on Monday, August 21 (8pm), at The Parsons Table, Tarrant Street, Arundel.

“I have been involved with the Hanover Band for three or four years now,” he says. “From time to time, I come along and I lead the orchestra, and they are really, really good. I think the reason is because they care. The orchestra is their life, and they really do care about it, and that makes such a difference. It is not just about management. It is like they are running their own home.

“I have done quite a lot of work with them this year. For the first year, I was just coming and going until they got to know me and felt I was worth leading the orchestra. In the freelance world, I work with eight different groups all over the continent, so maybe I am five or six times a year with the Hanover Band.”

And the result is variety: “I think that is the reason I am still freelance. It has its downsides because I think you have to work harder. You have lots of doors open, and you have got to work at them, but I think it keeps you fit and healthy as a musician.”

Also keeping him fit is his approach, exemplified by his Arundel concert: “I am trying to take classical music out of its normal venues. It is going to be a Spanish evening in terms of food and drink, which seems good to me – not that I will be eating or drinking!

“But this is something I have tried to do a lot with my own projects which are all about bringing classical music out of the cage of just sitting down and listening. I am just trying to make it all a much more normal experience. Yes, you want it to be special, but for me it puts me off when you have to go and listen and sit down and not move. It’s like someone is inflicting something on me.”

Jorge continues: “I don’t like that idea of having to be quiet and clap in the places where you are supposed to clap, and that’s just something that is really late in history. It was just really at the end of the 19th century. Before that, it was much freer in concerts, more like having a CD on and people could eat and drink and chat. Maybe in some ways it makes the musicians much more like servants, but really classical music has been turned into something so stuffy and precious that it really puts people off. I don’t think the human brain can concentrate for more than an hour. I couldn’t do it myself, and I wouldn’t want to inflict that on anyone. I want a proper shared experience. I want people to think at the end ‘I would have liked a little bit more’ rather than going away thinking ‘That went on for far too long!’”

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