Tafelmusik premiered Allen Whear’s composition Short Story in 2006. This Get to Know was printed in the house program at that time, and offers a glimpse of Allen’s passions, humour, and warmth.

How old were you when you started to make music?

I started singing and banging on the piano at 3. I still bang, by the way.

When did you first play the cello?

I think it was the same year that the Beatles debuted on the Ed Sullivan show.

Did you have a teacher who inspired you?

I have been very lucky because all of my teachers have been inspiring, even the ones who made me cry.

What made you decide to choose the cello?

In the beginning, it was pretty much chosen for me since string playing was big in my family. But later, when I became really committed to music, it was already a part of me and provided the ideal way of experiencing great music in ensembles as well as solos.

What is your favourite Tafelmusik moment?

When we perform a Beethoven Symphony at Irsee with Bruno Weil, the atmosphere is electrifying, the excitement palpable. Sometimes it feels like this extremely well-known music is being played and heard for the first time.

Why do you like to compose music?

I enjoy the humbling challenge of trying to re-create on paper what seems to flow so easily in my imagination. It makes one appreciate the effort that goes into writing any music, and makes it much harder to criticize anyone else’s work!

Where is the best place in the world to play baroque music?

The Kleiner Goldener Saal in Augsburg, Germany. It’s like being inside a great Italian violin.

Who is your favourite composer?

Beethoven. Once I got hooked on his music as a kid, I realized there was no turning back:  I had to become a musician.

What do you like to do when you are not playing the cello?

I’m an unrepentant biblio-cine-oeno-phile.

How much did you practise when you were learning?

Not enough.

How much do you practise now?

Still not enough.

What is your proudest moment?

Beating out two accordionists, a tap dancer, and a baton twirler with my 3/4-size cello in the Annual Czech Festival Talent Contest in Wilber, Nebraska.

What was your first music gig?

I played Messiah on local television when I was 13, with slicked-down hair and in a floppy hand-me-down tuxedo. To my embarrassment, they rebroadcast it every Christmas for years.

What is your favourite restaurant?

Il Latini, in Florence. Tuscan farm food, long tables, lively atmosphere.

What is your great ambition?

To participate in concerts for Mozart’s 300th anniversary (2056). And to get back to Il Latini.

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