Winner of the piano section at the 2011 Annual Music Competition, Ashley Fripp has been a staple of ROSL's concert series at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe for several years. Returning again for the 2018 festival in August, Ashley gives us a behind-the-scenes glimpse into what it's like to perform as part of ROSL Recitals.
What do you enjoy about performing at the Fringe and what keeps you coming back year after year?
The ROSL ARTS Fringe series is a unique feature of any musician's diary and there are many aspects about the week which I find so satisfying musically and socially. I have especially valued the opportunities to work with and to listen to other ROSL musicians: everybody has so much to offer and it is thrilling and hugely stimulating to be in such an environment. The ROSL ARTS team are absolutely second to none in their support and ability to make a musically demanding week so much fun.
How do you work with ROSL to programme your concerts at the Fringe? Do you know what will work with this kind of audience and do you take the Fringe as an opportunity to expand your repertoire?
I think that the programming is more of a jigsaw puzzle for the Arts team than the musicians! There are the concert formats, such as Bach for Breakfast, or Chopin after Lunch, and we can either offer full programmes or make suggestions including works by those composers and their contemporaries. I feel it is important to find a balance between performing repertoire which I have performed already quite a lot on stage and finding new pieces, which I think would work especially well for the series. One of the great things about the ROSL series is that it attracts audiences who would not usually or often attend classical concerts, and so finding the right repertoire to attract, appeal to, and engage them is really important for me. I also take the opportunity to talk with the public to introduce my pieces which they seem to respond to - it is so important nowadays to break through the fourth wall.
Has being part of the ROSL family and working with many Annual Music Competition alumni over the years helped in your career as a pianist?
ROSL ARTS has been a key component in the development of my career over the past few years. They have provided concert opportunities for me and introduced me to promoters who have offered me a wide variety of engagements and continue to do so. Many of the chamber music performances I have given have been with their prizewinners and so being a part of the ROSL family has unequivocally been integral in shaping my performing and social life. I am delighted that on 18 September ROSL is also hosting a launch concert for me at the London Clubhouse's Princess Alexandra Hall to promote my new solo album.
Do you get a chance to take in some of the many other attractions the Fringe has to offer during your stay?
Being up in Edinburgh during the Fringe has to be taken advantage of. There is usually a free afternoon or evening during the week and I have enjoyed attending a number of other concerts, theatre productions, comedy shows in the past. It is equally important for the musicians to submerge themselves in the festival vibe with the audiences to really capture the true atmosphere of the city at that magical time!
If you want to hear more from Ashley, or are not able to make it up to Edinburgh this year, then don't worry. He will be back at the London clubhouse on 18 September to launch his new album, when you can enjoy hearing him play music from Bach, Ades, and Chopin over a glass of wine. Find out more here.