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Passing the Baton: George West and Connor Wilcox

Welcome to the eighth instalment of the second series of ‘Passing the Baton’.

Each week, a member of the RBC community will interview a colleague to gain some insight into how the coronavirus crisis has affected their life, both professionally and personally. The interviewer will then pass the baton to the interviewee who will go on to present their questions to another person until finally closing the loop with an interview with our first candidate.

George West and Connor Wilcox

This week 2020 BMus Composition graduate George West talks to MMus pianist Connor Wilcox.

George West (GW)

What weird activity did you start during lockdown? 

Connor Wilcox (CW)

I think lockdown was a weird time in general, with lots of new things happening that few people had experience of. Mass mask wearing, social distancing guidelines, queues and one-way systems in shops, panic buying and shortages were all things that felt very surreal to me at the beginning.  

Improvised masks

GW

How have you made ends meet in the pandemic?  

CW

I was lucky to be furloughed from work, and I have a couple of private students who agreed to switch to online tuition, which helped too. Also, with everywhere being shut, I was only spending money on essential items, so it all balanced out! 

 

GW

What does a typical day look like for you now?  

CW

I spend most of my days practising and teaching. At the height of the lockdown, I really appreciated the ‘one outing per day’ rule for exercise and, ironically, I don’t exercise as much now that we’re allowed out whenever we want!  

 

GW

If you could travel back in time to before the pandemic, what’s the one thing you’d make sure you’d have to get you through?  

CW

My own private swimming pool and sauna! Swimming is normally my main form of exercise, and I’ve been using running as a substitute since March.

 

GW

What’s the best excuse you’ve given to duck out of a Zoom call? 

CW

Never done it!  

 

GW

What’s the strangest thing a composer has asked you to do in a piece?  

CW

Although I’ve heard some crazy stories, I haven’t been asked to do anything particularly strange. If I had to think of the most extreme thing, it’s probably playing Bach in G sharp minor in the second book of the ‘48 Preludes and Fugues’.

Bach statue

GW

Finally, what have you missed most about RBC?

CW

The thing I’ve missed most is the access to the world-class facilities, performance opportunities and face-to-face lessons. Also, I miss the really special sense of community at RBC and being able to meet friends in between practising and lectures.

 

Next episode, Connor talks to RBC Head of Vocal Studies, Paul Wingfield.