Q&A with APO Percussion, Jenny Raven

Where are you from?
I come from Nuneaton in Warwickshire, UK.

How long have you been a musician in the Auckland Philharmonia Orchestra?
I’ve been with the APO since late 1990, firstly as Acting Principal Percussion, then later in my role now as Sub Principal.

What is your musical background? Have you always wanted to be a musician?
I started in an all-girls marching band, opting to play a snare drum as I didn’t like the feeling on my lips of the brass/woodwind instruments! I quickly went onto drumkit and then, after joining a brass band, learning other percussion instruments. By the time I was 15, I was playing in all the local am/dram productions (CarouselBrigadoon etc.) and I loved the feeling of playing in groups, making new friends and making music. When I was 16, I joined the Midland Youth Orchestra based in central Birmingham, so it was an exciting journey on the train to get to rehearsals. I then studied at The Royal Birmingham Conservatoire being taught by City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra (CBSO) principals. I was lucky enough to play with the CBSO, conducted by Sir Simon Rattle throughout my time there.

Before the age of 16, I wanted to be either an accountant or maths lecturer but after all the fun times I had participating in musical endeavours, I decided to pursue percussion.

Can you play any other instrument, besides percussion?
Not really, I can play the piano (just enough to accompany students) and did learn clarinet for a while.

Do you have any favourite memories of your time working as an APO musician?
I loved playing with the famous Three Tenors (albeit individually) through the 90’s. Placido Domingo was my favourite. The whole percussion section dressing up for a kid’s concert was also lots of fun.

Percussion Pirates

What are your interests outside of music?
I’m a dabbler, I like reading, sewing, cross-stitch, any arts & crafts and gardening. I do yoga and usually do a couple of running/biking events throughout the year, I’m entered for the 11km run over the bridge for the Auckland Marathon.

What makes you happiest?
Playing music and connecting with people.

What might surprise people to know about you?
APO is a family affair for me, my husband, Adrian, is the Production Supervisor and my two sons work casually as roadies (I play the instruments, they move them 😊)

Quickfire! What is your favourite-at-the-moment...?

BookScrublands - Chris Hammer
Movie: Any Bond film, looking forward to the new one!
TV ShowVera (or any crime drama, my mum was called Vera 😊)
Food: Salmon and scallops
Song: 'Bad Habits' - Ed Sheeran

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