A question of taste - Fiona Collins

Fiona Collins is chairperson of the Guinness Cork Jazz Festival, which takes place this weekend. She’s originally from Bandon but has been living in Cork city for a number of years.

A question of taste - Fiona Collins

Best recent book:

Right now, I have Valley of the Dolls, Elizabeth Gilbert’s Big Magic. A recent book I enjoyed was The Baroness by Hannah Rothschild. It is about her aunt who abandoned her family in England to go to New York in the 1950s after hearing Thelonious Monk.

Best recent film:

My last movie was the Bridget Jones movie for a girly evening out with friends. It was fun, but not a cinematic great.

Best recent exhibition or gig: 

I was lucky enough to see the Georgia O’Keeffe exhibition in Tate Modern. It was a wonderful exhibition and you could see from her paintings how she developed such a feminist following. Her flower series is amazing.

Best piece of music you’ve been listening to lately (new or old): 

Mile Davis, Kind of Blue is always near my stereo but I have been listening to Christine and the Queens lately. I am enjoying her new album.

First ever piece of music or art or film or gig that really moved you:

Mum is a real opera buff so I grew up listening to great pieces of music. I remember the ‘Chorus of the Hebrew Slaves’, Vivaldi, Bizet’s Carmen, but it was really my introduction to swing music and the likes of Glenn Miller and Louis Armstrong that were my first intro into jazz and my love grew from there. I also remember seeing Monet’s ‘Water Lilies’ for the first time. I love the Impressionist movement so to see them in person was wonderful.

Most memorable gig you’ve ever seen at the jazz festival:

I got to sit back stage a few years ago at the Herbie Hancock, (left) gig in the Everyman. It was fabulous just to be that close.

Tell us about your TV viewing:

I don’t watch television per se, but I will catch up with box sets and maybe some Netflix on my laptop. The West Wing is a guilty pleasure.

Radio listening and/or podcasts:

I like listening to talk radio just to stay caught up on what’s happening but I change stations a lot. For a Cork flavour, I do try and catch Stevie G when he’s on at the weekend.

You’re curating your dream festival — which three artists are on the bill, living or dead?

I would love to have seen Ella Fitzgerald when she played in the Opera House in the 1980s, so I would have to include her. I missed Gregory Porter the last time he played so it would be great to have him back. Robert Glasper plays this year and I can’t wait to see him.

Best animal encounter:

We always had dogs growing up. Caesar was a golden labrador and adorable. I remember following him everywhere when I was little.

Favourite ever item of clothing:

I have a thing for pretty shoes. I have a red satin pair that my sister gave me that I love.

Unsung hero — individual, organisation or group you think don’t get the profile/ praise they deserve:

There are so many that can fit that bill. There are many in the arts industry in Cork who work to ensure Cork is a focus for art and music. We are very lucky in Cork with the talent we have and the quality festivals, productions and exhibitions.

You are queen for a day — what’s your first decree?

Ensure that everyone has access to free art education. It’s so important that children get to experience wonderful things in the world around them. As part of the festival, we ask bands to visit schools. I think it is important for children as well as adults to experience art and music.

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