In an alternate universe, in this year’s Waterloo Festival ERSO would have been proudly presenting a concerto performed by the winner of the 2020 ERSO Soloist of the Year. Sadly that can’t happen, but we wanted you to meet our finalists.
GRADY HASSAN, tuba
What is your main occupation at the moment?
Currently I am in my final year of my master’s degree at the Royal College of Music and am hoping to graduate in the summer. In addition to my studies I teach privately, peripatetically and am a freelance performer.
What are your ambitions for the future?
In the future I would love to have secured myself a professional orchestral job with some chamber music and teaching in addition. Ultimately my ambitions are to be happy and doing music is something I adore. To be able to make a living from playing the tuba would mean I’d never work a day in my life!
What made you choose to play your instrument and how old were you when you started?
I’ve always had an affinity for the lower pitched instruments of the orchestra, having also dabbled in bassoon and cello in the past. However, I grew up in a brass dominated household so the tuba was always going to win out!
What made you choose the concerto that your will be playing?
I chose the Vaughan Williams Tuba Concerto as it is arguably the most significant of all the tuba repertoire. Vaughan Williams completely redefined tuba playing, elevating it from purely an ensemble instrument to a solo instrument capable of virtuosity, flare and beauty. Despite being the first piece of its kind, and being written nearly 70 years ago, Vaughan Williams completely hit the nail on the head, and as such, his tuba concerto remains one of the greatest solo tuba pieces ever written.
What do you feel you would gain from the experience of winning this competition and playing your concerto with ERSO and Chris Stark?
Being able to perform a concerto with an orchestra is an incredibly rare opportunity, particularly as a tuba player. Having been a part of ERSO over the last year and seen what the orchestra is capable of under the baton of Chris Stark, I have no doubt that an opportunity to perform a concerto with ERSO would be a really amazing experience.