In the second of a new series of interviews with Philharmonia artists, musicians and staff, we caught up with violin virtuoso Augusta McKay Lodge and put our questions to her.
Welcome Augusta! What are you most looking forward to in your role as leader in PBO’s upcoming concert?
I will be leading the Philharmonia Baroque Chamber Players in a wild program of Italianate baroque music. I am looking forward to returning to San Francisco and collaborating with my dear colleagues, and most exciting is that it is the first live performance since 2020! The thrill of performing in front of, and communicating with, an audience is noncomparable to anything else, and I cannot wait to be back at it.
Which cell number do you call the most?
I honestly very rarely make phone calls, unless it is to that number which expats in France know all too well and dread…the visa préfecture! Otherwise, I would say video chats with my family. We are spread out all around the world, but we remain very close.
Where, or what, is perfection?
That moment in performance when you make eye contact with your colleagues and simultaneously start laughing about a random moment or inside joke from rehearsal.
What living person do you most admire (and why)?
My mom! So many reasons why…
What special talent or skill do you wish you possessed?
I wish I was a polyglot and could switch between multiple languages within one sentence.
What do you fear the most?
That I will somehow lose both of my contact lenses during a concert.
What is the most important lesson that life has taught you?
Never to underestimate how much you can learn from any given individual; to always be open to new ideas, new people, new concepts.
What is the first album that you ever bought?
My parents are avid CD collectors, I think they own around 5,000 by now, but it’s hard to say (who wants to count!). I grew up on basically every classical music CD available. The first disc I remember listening to obsessively was one by Tafelmusik Baroque Orchestra which included the Vivaldi A minor Double Violin Concerto, as my sister and I were learning this together at the time. The first album I bought with my own money was Glenn Gould’s …And Serenity.
What is the most recent album that you’ve bought or streamed?
Ignacio Prego’s and Emmanuel Resche-Caserta’s new album of Charles Avison Concerti Grossi (Tiento Nuovo ensemble, Glossa label)
What is your current most-played piece of music?
I typically don’t listen to anything more than once or twice. There’s just too much out there to explore and discover! But it would be safe to say basically any baroque chaconne. (We’ll have a good one for you in our upcoming program!) Also Billie Eilish.
What did you want to be when you were growing up?
I was always torn between an ancient Latin scholar and a pianist. Yeah, I didn’t get out much.
What is your most guilty pleasure?
Reality TV shows and McDonalds
What is your favorite word?
What composer or musician, past or present, would you most like to have dinner with, and why?
Clara Schumann. I would just love to meet her, and I feel like she would be so intelligent, kind, and fun.
What is your favorite smell?
The smell of home, especially after having been away.
What keeps you awake at night?
Cookies. Either the act of eating them, or the act of trying not to
Which composer or musician is the most underrated in your opinion?
There are so many! That’s what I find particularly fascinating about historical performance; we are constantly researching and discovering amazing composers who deserve to be known and listened to.