Tom Foster is The English Concert’s keyboard player
When, where and what did you play the first time with the English Concert?
The first EC directing masterclass in 2010. I can still remember being hopelessly overwhelmed. The first piece I got to ‘direct’ was the opening accompanied recit from ‘Mein Herze schwimmt im Blut’ BWV 199. The players were very forgiving, encouraging even. Laurence Cummings and Harry Bicket tried to get me to open my ears to discern areas for potential improvement, but all I could hear was my heart thumping away at a million bpm. I eventually plucked up the courage and posited some half-baked idea to the players, whereupon Trevor Pinnock shouted from the audience that I should “stop mumbling” and generally “speak up”. It was a baptism of fire.
What has been your most memorable TEC concert and why?
The Rinaldo tour in 2018. Big harpsichord solo and my first extended patch of work with EC.
What’s one of your favourite pieces of music and why?
‘Actus tragicus’ BWV 106. Parting is such sweet sorrow.
Do you have a secret interest or hobby that would surprise people?
Cryptic crosswords, birdwatching, gardening, listening to Test Match Special. I’m so ready for retirement. Also, juggling; so perhaps not quite ready yet.