A question of taste - Alex Petcu

Cork-born percussionist Alex Petcu comes from a Romanian family who are heavily involved in the musical life of the city.

He studied physics in UCC but plays percussion professionally now. Among the events he will involved in as part of Quarter Bloc Party (Feb 5-7) in Cork involves pieces written especially to be performed in the shops on North Main St, using materials found in those shops as instruments. See quarterblockparty.com

Best recent book:

Not quite sure of the most recent, but like many other people, I’m really looking forward to Winds of Winter by GRR Martin.

Best recent film:

I really liked The Revenant, especially as something I recorded made an appearance in the film. I recorded it last September with Bryce Dessner, and while only about 15 seconds of it made it onto film, it was still great to get a mention in the credits.

Best recent show/exhibition/gig you’ve seen:

Something that stood out to me from the last year was a dance show called Field by Tabea Martin from Switzerland. It was my first time ever seeing a contemporary dance show, it had no music so you could hear every breath, and was quite abstract. It’s difficult to put into words what I liked about it so much as there was no particular story, just pure movement and manipulation of energy.

What formats do you access music?

Online. Youtube mostly.

Best piece of music you’ve been listening to lately:

Some JS Bach. Never gets old even though it’s old!

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

Seeing Hans-Kristian Sorensen performing ‘Psappha’ by Iannis Xenakis at the West Cork Chamber Music Fesitval. No recording or video does this piece justice. Must be seen live to experience the power!

The best gig or show you’ve ever seen:

A really fun recent gig was Snarky Puppy in Vicar St, Dublin.

Tell us about your TV viewing:

Netflix series such as House of Cards, Making a Murderer, etc.

Radio listening:

When I’m in the car, I tend to listen to talk shows or nothing at all. Being a musician, I find it hard to listen to musicpassively, so it ends up eating a little too much into my concentration which could be better used for driving!

Name three of your music heroes:

In general, Berlin Philharmonic, Ensemble Intercontemporain, Snarky Puppy would be three at random.

In my super niche field of classical percussion, it would have to be Martin Grubinger, Evelyn Glennie and the Amadinda Percussion group.

Your best celebrity encounter:

I did get to meet [English conductor] Simon Rattle once.

Tech habits:

Macbook Pro and iPhone, although I wouldn’t say I’m a militant Mac fanboy.

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

Be nice to your fellow humans.


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