APO’s Helen Spoelstra talked to APO Cello Katherine Hebley about the foster kittens she's self-isolating with during the current lockdown, her favourite Billy Joel song and a quirky party trick that she can show off with her right hand...
Where did you grow up?
I grew up in a suburb of Napier called Taradale.
How long have you been with the APO?
It’s been 28 years since I was ratified! The first time that I ever played in the APO was as a student in their 1987 Summer Proms.
Can you play any other instruments other than the cello?
Not professionally, just to have a bit of fun – I’ll pick up another instrument and try to figure out how to find a tune, that sort of thing. I really like singing.
What are your favourite works in the cello repertoire?
Debussy, Brahms or Shostakovich cello sonatas, Schelomo, Bach suites (especially the Fifth Prelude), Lalo & Dvořák concerti, Seven Spanish Folksongs by de Falla, Fauré’s Après un Rêve…
Do you have any advice for young aspiring musicians who want to become professional and make it in the industry?
Play in absolutely everything that you can! Try to be a supportive team player and keep ‘feeling’ the music, hand-in-hand, while also working on accuracy.
What are your interests outside of music?
I really enjoy reading, attempting cryptic crosswords and word games! I also teach, I dance and I love going to balls for Scottish country dancing.
Do you have any pets?
Not at the moment. We used to have a frog and then a guinea pig. Now in the holidays we sometimes foster pets temporarily for the SPCA. While we are currently in the lockdown, we have two black and white kittens who are very cute!
What do you love most about living in Auckland?
I love that wherever you are, it’s easy to go for a walk by the sea. There’s also a lot of green. The climate isn’t too extreme and there’s room to create your own type of life. People are generally friendly, and it is multicultural.
What is your go-to dinner party recipe?
Anything from fresh homemade bread to chocolate rum balls. Yum!
What might surprise people to know about you?
The ring finger on my right hand is more like another little finger.
Quickfire! What is your favourite-at-the-moment...?
Book: It’s a Small World by Emma Uren
Movie: Jane Eyre or Despicable Me
TV Show: Lucifer or Sherlock
Food: Roast lamb with mint sauce, spuds, kumara and gewürztraminer! Another favourite – poached salmon with fresh green salad.
Song: There are just so many! From the many opera arias such as Bizet’s Pearl Fishers duet, through Flanders and Swann’s songs, Pie Jesu from Fauré’s Requiem, Billy Joel’s ‘Uptown Girl’, to folk songs like ‘I’m Nobody’s Child’!