Askonas Holt is delighted to welcome conductor Harry Ogg to our roster for general management. Last year Harry won Second Prize in the MDR Symphony Orchestra Conducting Competition in Leipzig and was a finalist at the 2018 Donatella Flick-LSO conducting competition in London. Following his performance at the latter Harry has been awarded the title of WNO Associate Conductor in collaboration with the Donatella Flick-LSO Conducting Competition, with his projects including a gala concert tour in Wales and a production of Carmen in Spring 2020. Next season, Harry will also take up a position in Germany, as he becomes Musikalischer Assistent des Gürzenich-Kapellmeisters to François-Xavier Roth at the Gürzenich Orchester Köln.
Harry has worked with the Theater am Revier Gelsenkirchen, Bergen Philharmonic Orchestra (preparatory rehearsals and assisting Edward Gardner), Hallé Orchestra, London Mozart Players and the Jena, Hradec Králové and North Czech Philharmonic Orchestras.
We caught up with Harry earlier this week to find out a bit more about his musical memories and favourite things.
Where did your love of music begin? I learned the piano from about the age of eight (my father was an amateur pianist) but it was later playing in an orchestra (as a tuba and double bass player) that I really realised that I wanted to be a musician. It’s hard to describe how wonderful making music with others/breathing as one is…
Was there a ‘lightbulb’ moment? A summer youth orchestra tour playing extracts from Götterdämmerung… that music and seeing how the conductor shapes it all… Not really looked back since!
Best musical advice you’ve received? Conducting is listening – you will spend your whole career developing your ability to listen and hear.
Most memorable live music experience as a performer? Conducting Mahler Symphony No. 1 with Sinfonia d’Amici (which was, quite literally, an orchestra of my friends) when I was 21. There was something extraordinary in the air that night…
…and as an audience member? Mahler Symphony No. 3 with Abbado and the Lucerne Festival Orchestra at the Proms in 2007. Never heard playing quite like it. None of the 8,000 or so of us there could breathe, it was so intense.
First record you ever bought? Spice Girls’ Wannabe aged five (bought together with my older brother in ASDA).
Who would you invite to your ideal dinner party, living or dead? Shakespeare – he had such an unbelievable understanding of human nature, an evening with him would surely be hilarious, fascinating and moving.
Watch Harry perform Kodály’s Dances of Galánta at the Donatella Flick-LSO Conducting Competition
Musical heroes? Claudio Abbado, Sir Simon Rattle and Sir John Eliot Gardiner, as well as my various conducting teachers over the years.
Favourite book? East of Eden by John Steinbeck.
Favourite venue? The Royal Albert Hall during the Proms. As one orchestral player once said to me, “when you play there you feel like you’re a rock star!”
Which non-classical musician would you most like to work with? Laura Marling or Mark Ronson; I just really like their music.
Which other talent would you most like to have? Dancing. I’m not totally awful (I think/hope!) but to be a really awesome dancer would be very cool.
If you were given a time machine, what period or musical event would you travel to? The 1910s, in order to experience the atmosphere around and reaction to premieres of works by Stravinsky, Debussy, Schoenberg, Janáček etc. An extraordinary time for music.
Three things you couldn’t live without? Friends, laughter, and English Breakfast tea (with milk).
Career plan B? My answer would have been very different 10 years ago, but now I think I would be a psychotherapist. There’s little more fascinating than the inner workings of the human mind and spirit.
And finally, how do you relax when not working? Swimming (preferably outdoors), reading books and watching films. Most importantly: spending time with friends.