APO’s Helen Spoelstra talked to APO First Violin Rachel Moody about her favourite dinner party recipes (warning: reading this while hungry is not recommended!), her cat Frank and dog Annie, and her favourite places in Auckland to visit.
Where did you grow up?
I grew up in Winnipeg in central Canada.
How long have you been with the APO?
I joined this fabulous orchestra in May of 2013.
Can you play any other instruments other than the violin?
Yes! I play piano.
What are you favourite works in the violin repertoire?
To play and to hear, Bach's Sonatas and Partitas. Everyone plays them differently. You could work on them your entire life and still find layers of depth and technical challenge.
Do you have any advice for young musicians wanting to become professional and make it in the industry?
First of all, practise efficiently and every day. Secondly, be as versatile as you can - how can your instrument work in as many different styles of music as possible? In such a competitive industry, you need to have as many tricks in your bag as you can. Finally, ask yourself how much fun you are to work with – your skills alone will not always determine how hireable you are!
What are your interests outside of music?
I love animals and the natural world. I meditate, I run and I enjoy reading. Languages are also a real interest of mine.
Do you have any pets?
Yes! I have a grey tabby cat called Frank and a black and white mixed breed rescue dog called Annie.
What do you love most about living in Auckland?
A lot! I love visiting the Waitakere ranges and the beaches here are stunning. I enjoy my job and being in the Auckland Town Hall where I get to work. I love going on walks up Ōwairaka (Mt Albert) and the food at Gemmayze Street (a Lebanese restaurant in St Kevin's Arcade). Among other things.
What is your go-to dinner party recipe?
Well, I like to cook, but my husband loves to cook – so he’s the cook in our household (haha).
We will often serve a meatless lasagne with macadamia nut ricotta (which, take my word for it, is much better than real ricotta). You'll need to contact him for the recipe.
One of my go-to sides is kale salad: Wash, dry and tear up a generous bunch of kale or cavolo nero and massage it for a few minutes in a pinch of salt (this takes out the bitterness of raw kale). Massage or slice in some avocado. Add whatever you like (I usually keep it simple, maybe just a few sun-dried tomatoes). Add some pressed raw garlic for some kick if you're up for it. Dress however you like (EVOO, lemon, pepper, chilli flakes and nutritional yeast is what I do). So good!
What might surprise people to know about you?
I had a shaved head for a while (by choice). Also, even though I was born and raised in Canada, I'm a full-blooded Aussie.
Quickfire! What is your favourite:
Book: The one I've been recommending the most lately is Sapiens by Yuval Noah Harari. It’s not necessarily my favourite, but an important read.
Movie: Oh gosh...I don't really have a favourite but a few that I could watch over and over: Some Like it Hot, Groundhog Day, The Empire Strikes Back.
Show: I watched The Marvellous Mrs. Maisel recently and really enjoyed that.
Food: Watermelon. Yum!
Song: ‘I Want You Back’ by the Jackson Five always makes me happy.