On the Couch with Simon Cobcroft

Simon Cobcroft photo by JamoisWho is Simon Cobcroft?
At the moment I have the privilege of being the Artistic Director of the Coriole Music Festival, which, I suppose, is partly because the Coriole Festival is about things for which I have great passion, namely excellent chamber music, exquisite food and great wine! I’m also a professional cellist, which means that I get to play amazing music for a living.

What would you do differently from what you do now?
It’s really very hard to imagine being anything other than a musician, although I’m quite obsessed with cooking and baking. I’m not sure I could handle the hours and physical strain of being in the food business, but it certainly fascinates me. Every time I drive out to Coriole, I think of how wonderful it would be to be a wine maker, but in the end I’m happy to leave it to the experts!

Who inspires you and why?
All of the wonderful music at Coriole this year is inspiring to me, so I suppose you might say that composers like Shostakovich and Smetana are inspirations. I’m also lucky to be inspired by my colleagues, which is one of the great things about getting to play with excellent musicians. In terms of non-musical inspirations, there are so many! I once spent an hour sitting in front of Jackson Pollock’s Blue Poles, and I tend to re-read A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens every couple of years.

What would you do to make a difference in the world?
I’d get the world to take climate change as seriously as it needs to be taken, and while I was at it, I’d encourage everyone to trust peer reviewed science! More broadly, if I could get people to be kinder to each other, I’d do that. I think people who listen to good music tend to be more inspired to kindness.

Favourite holiday destination and why?
I used to live in Malaysia, so I love getting back to South East Asia when I can. Having said that, it’s pretty hard to beat the McLaren Vale! If you’re after fantastic food and wine in beautiful surroundings, it really doesn’t get much better than taking a trip to the Fleurieu Peninsula.

When friends come to town, what attraction would you take them to, and why?
In South Australia I’d say it has to include food and wine. I’m biased, but a day of wine tasting in the McLaren Vale would be about perfect, perhaps followed by a concert featuring some of the fantastic local musicians in South Australia.

What are you currently reading?
I’ve just finished reading Boy Swallows Universe by Trent Dalton, which I thought was wonderful. It’s set in the 80s and 90s in the outer western suburbs of Brisbane, which is close to where I grew up, so it was quite a nostalgic read.

What are you currently listening to?
A lot of chamber music! I listen to a great deal of classical music, but also non classical artists like Sufjan Stevens, Tom Waits and Leonard Cohen. I’ve just discovered the amazing chanteuse, Cecile McLorin Salvant.

Happiness is?
Making and listening to music, food and drink with friends and getting enough sleep!

What does the future hold for you?
I very much hope to keep making music and spending time doing the things that I love, with the people I love, for as long as the universe will let me.

Simon is the Artistic Director of the Coriole Music Festival – which will be presented at the Coriole Vineyards, McLaren Vale on Saturday 18 & Sunday 19 May 2024. For more information and full program, visit: www.coriolemusicfestival.com for details.

Image: Simon Cobcroft – photo by Jamois