We interview Kathy Selby

Hailed by the Australian press as a ‘formidable talent’ and ‘Australia’s pre-eminent chamber music pianist’, Kathryn Selby AM is the Artistic Director of the popular nationally touring Selby & Friends concert series.  A former student of the Curtis Institute of Music, the Juilliard School and the Sydney Conservatorium of Music, Miss Selby has won countless awards, accolades and competition prizes from around the world.  She has performed with several of Australia’s top orchestras and appeared in many internationally renowned festivals.  She has contributed significantly to the musical landscape of Australia and continues to delight audiences with her nationally touring ‘Selby & Friends’ concert series.


When did you realise you wanted to be a performing artist?

Probably when I was very little and my father would take me to concerts at the Town Hall. I loved the SSO and all the visiting artists who also gave recitals whilst on tour.


Do you have any pre-performance rituals?

I used to always eat a bowl of cereal before I performed but now I’m too busy running around before concerts to rely on a ritual! 


Do you have a favourite warm-up routine before practise?

I always aim to go for several kms walk twice a day to get me going, as moving as much as possible is really important now as always.


How important do you feel social media is in the ‘classical music industry’ today?

I’m still trying to figure that out to be honest so it’s an educational area for me still. I would like to think people enjoy social media because it can impart information and personality but the jury is still out for me.


How do you grow and maintain your database of fans and followers?

Try and always present great concerts and interact with patrons on a personal level which I enjoy.


How do you go about reaching new audiences?

That is the 1 million dollar question isn’t it. I’ve always found word of mouth from our patrons is best as people tend to trust friends who enjoy similar things. I encourage that and try to support it as much as possible.


What type of repertoire do you find the most taxing to play and why?

Well I was never very good at maths so perhaps the intricate multi-meter works of the recent past are the most challenging but they are still highly inspirational and also serve to continue to expand my abilities so I enjoy tackling them nonetheless.


What advice would you give to yourself 10 years ago?

Don’t take everything so seriously!


What factors do you consider when programming a concert?

The abilities of the performers- their strengths and preferences- and the enjoyment of the audience to come along with us.


If you could have dinner with any composer (living or dead), who would it be and what would you ask them?

Haha oh that is a good one. I’d prefer to have a large dinner party and gather many, many wonderful composers around a large table to chat about the little things and the big things. Listening and watching them interact across genres and centuries would be something indeed!!!


If you had to have chosen an alternative career path, what would it have been?

Either Law or Psychology.


Do you have a favourite ‘musical quote’?

Not really but I do have one I heard quite often from one of my old teachers who was a conductor. He said, never let a day go by without learning something new. I have tried hard to follow that advice, with varying degrees of success. At least it keeps me curious and interested in not just music but the world around us too. 

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