18 Nov 2016

5 minutes with Carey McDonald

From In the Spotlight, 12:00 pm on 18 November 2016
RNZ Concert presenter Carey McDonald

RNZ Concert presenter Carey McDonald Photo: RNZ

When did you first start working for RNZ?

Goodness! It works out about 10 years ago (actually it's 13 - Ed). I’d grown up with Concert and loved radio. My Dad Ranald McDonald was Executive Music Producer for Concert for a number of years and that just made it even more ‘part of the family’. I couldn’t wait to get a chance to work there.

Describe your average work day morning?

A nice cup of tea in bed just to make the transition; followed by a good breakfast and a cup of coffee to get in the mood. Then straight into it. I work from home, so sometimes that's a challenge!

Live radio often throws the unexpected at us? Can you remember a situation where you had to step up?

This is quite relevant given the events of the past week, but I remember being asked to do some overnight shifts at the time of the February Christchurch earthquake. We don’t normally have an overnight presenter on Concert, but I was glad to be asked to provide a bit of human contact for anyone listening. It was a traumatic time for a lot of people and I hope a human voice and some beautiful music gave some respite from the difficulties.

Favourite composer?

When I was younger, writing my own music, I was greatly influenced by Benjamin Britten and Shostakovich (not in the same piece!). When I lived in London, I'd travel to my gigs listening to Elgar, Brahms and Tchaikovsky violin concertos on my Walkman – perfect music for walking alongside the Thames  and quite different to the music I played as part of my work at the time. Nowadays….loads! Too many to choose one.

Carey McDonald on 'Gran' duty

Carey McDonald on 'Gran' duty Photo: Supplied

What do you do to relax?

I try to be always relaxed – so whatever I’m doing at the time. Entertaining my grand-daughter is fun.

Favourite place in the world?

Wherever I am at the time, although I’m pretty fond of any football stadium where Wellington Phoenix is playing

Tea or coffee drinker? Or both?

See above

What is your greatest extravagance?

Real coffee, real wine, real food…

When not behind the microphone, what are you usually doing?

My other job is Administration Manager of Auckland Choral, so that’s pretty full on for most of the time, but really nice to be doing because I work with lovely, accomplished people and lovely, accomplished music.

Which talent would you most like to have?

Well I’m quite talented already (just joking!) – but really – quite happy with the way I am.

Who are your favourite writers?

A similar answer to ‘favourite composers’.  I love to read and like lots of variety. If I read a book I like, I sometimes try to find more by the same author and have a bit of a binge. I like Science fiction (movies too) and I like to think about hard ideas and philosophies when I get some time.

What is the best thing about working for RNZ Concert?

It's sometimes like a little oasis in a busy life to come into the studio and just listen to and think about great musical ideas.