13 Jan 2017

5 minutes with Amanda Brown

From In the Spotlight, 12:00 pm on 13 January 2017
RNZ Concert presenter Amanda Brown

RNZ Concert presenter Amanda Brown Photo: RNZ

Describe your average work day morning?

For an early shift I’m out the door by 5.15am. The drive into work is my fifteen minutes of calm while the city sleeps and the first fingers of daylight creep across the sky. By the time I get to the studio I'm awake and ready to talk.

 Do you remember a situation or event that took you by surprise (a significant on-air disaster that you can laugh about now?)

When I started as a presenter at RNZ Concert, the venerable David Morriss warned me of the perils of operating multiple CD players in the studio.  It’s surprisingly easy, he said, to press the wrong button and eject a CD while it’s playing to air! Of all the things that could go wrong this sounded like the worst imaginable, and I was determined it wouldn’t happen to me. And of course, in time, it did.

Favourite composer?

As a child and teen I was immersed in the magic of ballet. Life was a happy whirlwind of lessons, shows, exams and as many Royal NZ Ballet performances that I could cajole my parents into taking me to. I still have a soft spot for lyrical, Romantic-era music (and composers), and the Russians for sheer emotional va-va-voom!

 What do you do to relax?

Indulge my inner thespian by getting involved in Community Theatre, usually with Wellington Repertory or Stagecraft.  A typical production involves auditions, 6 weeks of rehearsals and a 10 night performance run. Relaxing is probably not the right word but it is energising, in a nail-biting, creative kind of way. Real relaxation involves escapism into good cinema, preferably with subtitles.

 Favourite place in the world?

Umbria in central Italy where I lived for several years.

 Tea or coffee drinker? Or both?

I’ve recently switched to decaffeinated chai tea which I can drink without counting and still enjoy a sturdy espresso before lunchtime.

 What is your greatest extravagance?

Taking our children to France to keep their Francophone roots alive and spend time with grandparents and extended family.

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

Probably an activity involving said children, or research for tours to Italy - a new venture.

 Which talent would you most like to have?

The ability to help my children with their maths homework. I'm left-handed and right-brained.

 Who are your favourite writers?

It has varied at different times, but some who have left a lasting impression include Katherine Mansfield, Flannery O’Conner, Alice Munro, Raymond Carver, PG Wodehouse, & Maya Angelou.

 What is the best thing about working for RNZ Concert?

An enriching work environment and the shared belief that the music we play can bring joy to the lives of our listeners.

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