60 seconds with… James Weeks

Lute or electric guitar?
Both please! – a sexy duet combination

Composing or performing?
Composing…then performing

Black tie or all black?
All black. Can’t stand the pomposity of black tie but don’t want to look casual either.

What’s the most played track from your MP3 player/CD collection?
Hmm… Maybe Gothic Voices’ all-Machaut album, or Ives Ensemble’s Aldo Clementi disc on Hat Hut.

When do you think your breakthrough moment was?
As a performer, EXAUDI’s performance of Ferneyhough’s Missa Brevis at Aldeburgh in 2006. I wandered around in a daze for a week afterwards. As a composer, in some ways I’ve not had one single breakthrough, just a series of small steps, but the writing process itself is full of moments of epiphany – albeit often tentative and evanescent ones.

What’s the strangest thing you’ve read about yourself?
I can’t remember – people write all sorts of rubbish about what you’re doing all the time. The best thing is to learn how to ignore it – which I’m not very good at!

Where’s your favourite venue to perform in?
I prefer places with natural light like churches or galleries – concert halls seem stuffy and claustrophobic to me even though they are quieter. But really I’m happy anywhere with a bit of bloom on the sound and a nice clean loo.

What do you like about working with Spitalfields Music?
Their openness to imaginative programming and willingness to go out and find an audience for the music they believe in.

James Weeks and EXAUDI appear at the Winter Festival on
Friday 7 January 2011.

Box office: 020 7377 1362/ spitalfieldsmusic.org.uk

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