Martin Schippers (Second and Bass Trombone) spoke with Dale and Jamie from The Eighth Position in advance of the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra’s Australian tour in November 2013
What was the musical journey you took before winning your current position with the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra (RCO)?
I started playing euphonium in the local wind band of my hometown at age seven, taking lessons from my grandfather. At the age of 15 I switched to trombone and studied with my uncle before going to the conservatory. Aged 19 I was appointed Second Trombone at the Radio Philharmonic Orchestra and four years later was appointed Principal Trombone at the Radio Chamber Philharmonic where I worked for 3,5 years. In 2009 I won the job at the RCO as Second/Bass Trombone.
The RCO was recently crowned the world’s greatest orchestra by Gramophone magazine. What is life like as a permanent member of the RCO?
I feel blessed being in this orchestra, living in Amsterdam and playing in our beautiful hall. It is one of the few orchestras in the world with its own unique sound. Working with great conductors, travelling and meeting people all over the world and playing with our section is a dream for every musician.
What are your impressions of the Concertgebouw as a concert venue, and how does it differ from other concert halls that you’ve played in around the world?
The Concertgebouw is famous for it’s warm and transparent acoustics and I think these have also shaped the sound of the orchestra. We try to bring this sound with us wherever we play in the world. The sound comes to you as round but clear and the overall blend is unique. Besides the famed acoustics it is also a very beautiful venue with a lot of history, something that you feel as soon as you enter the building or walk onto the stage.