Introducing... Saba Tehrani, Development Coordinator

How did you become involved with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra (RPO)?

My journey with the RPO began this summer (2023) when I got the job of Development Coordinator!

What was your first experience of orchestral music?

We had a keyboard at home that had a feature that taught you how to play songs, which then led me to start taking piano lessons when I was nine. I ended up quitting after two years once I realised I was better off listening to orchestral music rather than trying to play it.

How did you find yourself on this career journey?

It was quite random actually! I was preparing for my final year exams, studying anthropology at university, while applying for jobs here and there on the side. I saw the RPO role advertised and while it wasn’t something that I had considered before, it sounded like an amazing opportunity, so I applied and here I am!

What is the best thing about being part of the RPO family?

The people! Everyone is so lovely here and it’s so incredible to see people from different walks of life united by the same passion for music.

Tell us about your favourite RPO journey.

I’ve only been here for a month, but I was able to sit in for a rehearsal of the Orchestra before the BBC Proms at the Royal Albert Hall which was amazing! It was so interesting seeing the small changes made throughout and the impact they made when it all came together in the end.

Do you have any pre-concert rituals?

I love reading the programmes and learning the backgrounds of the pieces and musicians, it really helps me to understand and enjoy the pieces more.

Must listens – if you had to recommend one artist or composer, who would it be and why?

I would probably say Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross (they compose together so I’m not cheating!) – I think the work they’ve done on film and television scores is incredible. I find the way they apply their industrial metal/synth rock backgrounds to more traditional orchestral music to be remarkable and it results in sounds which I haven’t really encountered before and conveys pretty complex emotions.

Symphonic crossover – if you could work with any artist on a performance or project, who would you choose?

There are many, but I think I would go with PJ Harvey. I think she’s such a fascinating artist and her ability to shift into any genre and to release albums which sound so widely different from each other I think would result in a pretty cool recording process. She’s incorporated a lot of different sounds and instruments into her work, and I think it would be interesting to see her approach to working with an orchestra.

Away from music, tell us two of your favourite hobbies and why they strike such a chord.

I really love going to museums and watching films. This is probably the anthropologist in me coming out – but I’m always fascinated by the way humans interact with the world around them to create different forms of art whether it be paintings, films or music.

Dream dinner party – who would you invite, what would you cook?

I’d invite Oscar Wilde, Sofia Coppola, Bobby Kennedy and maybe Mel Brooks to lighten the mood. I would serve a plant-based mezze platter as the starter, and a sticky aubergine rice bowl with an edamame and red cabbage salad for the main.

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