Arts interviews

Interview: Nikolaj Znaider

By Jessica Duchen, November 23, 2010

Some musicians are content to tour the globe repeatedly performing the same handful of concertos. And then there is Nikolaj Znaider.

The 35-year-old, Danish-born violinist has everything a top international soloist could desire - phenomenal technique, fine-honed musicality, good looks, charisma and a Guarneri del Gesù violin that once belonged to the great Fritz Kreisler..


Interview: Jenny Lewis

By Elisa Bray, November 18, 2010

Jenny Lewis has had a few incarnations. Starting off as a child actress, she appeared in dozens of teen movies. She moved onto music and earned the title "princess" of indie-rock as frontwoman of the critically acclaimed band Rilo Kiley, before becoming a solo musician. Now, she has teamed up with her boyfriend, the singer-songwriter Johnathan Rice, to release a record under the does-what-it-says-on-tin name of Jenny and Johnny. Not that she had planned any of it.


Interview: Mike Leigh

By Stephen Applebaum, November 4, 2010

So much dust was kicked up by Mike Leigh's recent decision to cancel a cultural visit to Jerusalem and the West Bank that it almost obscured the fact that the outspoken veteran of stage and cinema has a new film out this week - and arguably one of his best, at that.


Interview: Evgeny Kissin

By Stephen Pollard, November 1, 2010

For Evgeny Kissin, the piano is no longer the only means of communication. Renowned worldwide since performing both Chopin concertos as a 12 year old, Kissin has always avoided politics and controversy. Unlike musicians such as Daniel Barenboim, Kissin has stuck to his artistry.

But he has decided that "as a Jew" he must now change that. "After all this time of anti-Israel hysteria, I felt that I had to raise my voice." He dipped his toe in the water earlier this year with an open letter to the BBC about its coverage.


Interview: Martin Sherman

By John Nathan, October 14, 2010

'I have an attraction to monsters," declares Martin Sherman. The 71-year-old playwright says this partly by way of playful confession.

Can he reveal which monsters?

"I can't," he responds with a wry smile, as if naming names would disclose too much about himself.


Interview: Sid Caesar

By Barbra Paskin, October 7, 2010

It is early afternoon in a hot and steamy Beverly Hills. Sid Caesar's sprawling hilltop house perches on top of a lush canyon that overlooks the bustle of the city. Up here the air is clear and tranquil, punctuated with the sweet-smelling fragrance of jasmine and gardenia. It has been the Caesars' home for more than 40 years.


Rahm Emanuel launches Chicago bid

By Jennifer Lipman, October 4, 2010

Rahm Emanuel has launched his campaign to become mayor of Chicago.

The Jewish politician announced on Friday that he was stepping down from his position as President Barack Obama’s chief of staff.

Mr Emanuel, a former Illinois congressman, also served as a political aide to President Bill Clinton.

In a video statement, Mr Emanuel spoke of his father, who fought for the Irgun in the run-up to Israel’s independence.

He said: “My father came to Chicago as an immigrant from Israel. I was born here – and my wife Amy and I raised our three children here.”


Interview: Adam Feinstein

By John Nathan, September 21, 2010

It was on an aeroplane that Adam Feinstein first heard that his son Johnny, the youngest of his three children, was autistic. In the way that it is often easier to open up to someone you have never met and will probably never see again, Feinstein found himself telling the man next to him about something that was giving him great cause for concern.


Interview: Sarah Solemani

By Simon Round, September 16, 2010

Is it possible to write a comedy about a couple living on benefits without it being perceived as a commentary on Broken Britain?

Sarah Solemani thinks so. She plays Becky in Him & Her - a sitcom about Steve and Becky, a couple of happy benefit bums who never leave their bedsit. In some ways it is very BBC3 - featuring, as the continuity announcer might put it, strong language and frank discussion of sex. There is also quite a lot of going to the toilet (with sound effects) which leaves little to the imagination.


Interview: Steven Isserlis

By Jessica Duchen, September 2, 2010

Steven Isserlis is probably Britain's best-loved and most highly respected solo cellist. At 51, with his distinctive mop of curls and a family tree that takes in figures as diverse as Rabbi Moses Isserlis, Felix Mendelssohn, Karl Marx and Helena Rubinstein, he has been at the forefront of British musical life over several decades.

As a cellist his tone is remarkable - indeed, unmistakable: he has long preferred to use gut strings, which give his sound a burnished, soulful timbre rather than the harsher, sock-it-to-'em quality of the metal strings employed by most big-time soloists.