Tea + a chat with Breakfast Club Duo

Cellist Natasha Zielazinski and Recorder player Rhia Parker and from Breakfast Club talk to us about; riffling through manuscripts, the birth of their quartet, the beauty of the recorder (s) and how collaborations with young musicians of all musical stages impact on their own creativity and compositional process.

They will perform at Tea + a gig on 6th June.  Book here.

Where did the name Breakfast Club Duo come from?

A year or so ago, along with our wonderful colleagues Detta Danford and Evi Nakou, we were inspired to form a quartet. Our first rehearsal was spent rifling though the scores and sheet music in the library of the Guildhall School of Music and Drama, trying to find repertoire for our slightly odd ensemble (recorder, cello and two flutes). The situation reminded us of the film The Breakfast Club, in which a group of teenagers have to spend their weekend in the library for detention, and we semi-jokingly bestowed the name upon ourselves.  As these things tend to go, however, the name stuck! This gig represents a more miniature sized version of Breakfast Club with just recorder and cello - hence the 'Duo"!


The recorder is a much-maligned instrument – invoking thoughts of rounds of ‘London’s Burning’ or general atonal screeching. Rhia, do you take pleasure in changing people’s perspectives of your instrument?

Absolutely! I've played the recorder since I was about 3 and have always been surrounded by incredibly supportive family and friends. However, I encounter negative connotations about the recorder constantly, even when talking to professional musicians. It saddens me that so many people's first, and perhaps only experience of the recorder is that of a toy or (at best) a stepping-stone to learning a "real instrument". On the flip side, it does mean that the reactions from people after hearing myself or any of my talented recorder friends play, is so exciting - to be able to reveal the true beauty of my instrument to people is a real joy.


How well do the recorder and the cello work together?
The exciting thing about the recorder is that there are so many of them! This means that we can experiment with how different types and sizes of recorder sound with the timbres and qualities of the cello. We make conscience decisions about whether we want to blend our sound as much as possible (the cello sounding more 'breathy; the recorder having more of a bowed feeling) or explore the exciting individual qualities of each instrument. What really brings us together as a duo is a love of playing and reinterpreting interesting music, and finding a unique quality of sound in the gap between strings and woodwind.

Natasha – you co-run the Future Band ensemble project at the Barbican working with 8-18 year olds on composition and performance projects? What difference do you think projects like this can make to the development of young musicians?

Yep, I set up Future Band nearly 9 years ago with flutist Detta Danford (also of Breakfast Club quartet). The project is really exciting as it involves a mix of young people, Guildhall students and guest artists sitting down together to make something new. At the moment we are working with an amazing guest called Anne Harild, who will work with us to build a House for Listening to the Clouds for the Waltham Forest Garden Party this July. The hope is that every project we do we are all (meaning everyone, including Detta and I) learning something new, trying something different or being asked to make, think about or understand our music making in a different way. We're experimenting, making and performing, and repeating the process again, but each time different. It has a massive impact on my own composing and performing, and hopefully does the same for all of the young people involved too. If you want to check out more about the band you can here - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R_avI3_v7I0.

How did you come to know about SoundsCreative Projects?

Through our friend, the wonderful Tara Franks!

What do you think of the Tea + a Gig concept?

Love the idea!

At SCP we believe in connections. Can you connect us to 3 great artists we should know about?

Kadialy Kouyate - kadialykouyate.com

Aris Daryono (gamelan player) -  www.sea-arts.net/aris-daryono

Ranjana Ghatak - www.ranjanaghatak.co.uk