Skip Links

Interview With Matthew Sharp

Tell us a little about what you’ve been up to over this past year.

Life during the pandemic was and continues to be an adventure. In between firefighting the annihilation of work wrought by COVID-19 and doing my best to take the bludgeoning of homeschooling three children under the age of 11 like a man, I have…Well, mainly, I have been trying – amidst the mayhem – to do what Jung recommends: ‘Be simple and always take the next step.’

So, in the first five months of COVID-19 UK-style, that meant I:

Built a theatre in my garage.

Spent priceless time with my family.

Spent a lot of time watching YouTube ‘tech’ tutorials

Commissioned, wrote, recorded, videoed, broadcast and streamed HOURS of material with the express purpose of offering upliftment and reflection taught all over the world from the comfort of my living room.

You’ve relocated to rural France, how did that move come about?

The imperfect storm of politics, pandemic and cultural and educational freefall (note to self – marrying and having a family with someone you love who ALSO works in the arts is sheer pandemic LUNACY). So, The Mother of Invention, Captain Kirk and Benjamin Franklin became Family Sharp’s guiding lights – necessity meant that we boldly went to create opportunity out of adversity.

How’s the French life treating you?

We’re having an amazing, enlightening, frugal, rich time.

Lockdown had a huge impact on your profession, how did the challenges affect you ?

So, day 1 of lockdown,  I was walking round our village delivering Corona Virus Helpline leaflets and adding up the cost of cancelled work. Even at that early stage, I very quickly reached £20k plus. So, with dispassion and pragmatism, I got home and put my second cello up for sale. The response from my cultural compadres was heart-warming and, with their help and creativity, I managed to work out a way round the immediate issue…So, thanks to those friends, I still have that cello.

Did you learn or discover anything new during lockdown?

I’m reappraising my own values around work, education and upbringing. It’s not new but it has reaffirmed my belief in fearlessness – in life and the music, theatre and educating that I do.

What positives did you take from the isolation?

The decompression after, literally, a lifetime of touring has been, at times, blissful. Daily life as a family with the time to be/walk/read together as well as really get into things and projects. The direct, disintermediated relationship with audiences and students online. The headspace and time to write the answers to this interview…

Tell us about Sarabande that you will be performing at this year’s Festival via a short film.

Cello as Harmony instrument with the power and grace to find resolution out of dissonance. BENIGN & HOPEFUL.

Now that restrictions are finally lifting, what do you have planned?

I’m coming back to the UK mid-May for a month of performances and workshops, including Rococo with the Northern Chamber Orchestra, appearances at the Hertfordshire Festival of Music, Wallace & Gromit’s Musical Marvels at The Lowry and catching up with my amazing students at the Royal Birmingham Conservatoire FACE-TO-FACE.

The short film Bach to nature: Matthew Sharp performs J. S. Bach CELLO SUITE NO.6 IN D MAJOR: III – SARABANDE available for FREE from Sunday 16th May click here for further details.

Photo credit: Matilda Holloway