My West Hampstead: Violinist Jamie Hutchinson reveals joy of performing for penguins in the Falklands

Jamie Hutchinson playing to penguins in the Falklands

Jamie Hutchinson playing to penguins in the Falklands - Credit: Archant

Professional violinist Jamie Hutchinson talks about those who inspire her music and her love of living in West Hampstead.

What brought you to West Hampstead?

I had just completed my studies at the Royal Northern College of Music in Manchester and decided to give myself six months in London to see if I’d get any work. I knew nothing of London’s geography but thankfully ended up in Kilburn and then West Hampstead through sheer luck. Six years later my friends in Manchester still joke about my six month ‘experiment’!

You have a day off to spend as you wish in the area, what would you get up to?

A cappuccino from Wired Coffee in Broadhurst Gardens will set me up for an hour of practice. Then I’ll call up one of my local musician friends to go for cake at Bakeaboo on Mill Lane, but always via Social Clothing and West End Lane Books; the staff help me to dress and read better! Later, if it’s sunny or snowing I’ll be up on the Heath, but any sign of drizzle and I’m on a sofa at an Everyman cinema with a glass of Rioja. Dinner of choice would have to be Wet Fish Cafe; not only is the food intensely tasty but proprietor Andre is a big supporter of the arts.


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If you were guest editor of the Ham&High for a day, what one local issue would you most like to see reported?

I grew up at a local butcher’s in South Wales and I’ve always been self employed so I am an avid supporter of independent businesses. I am proud of West Hampstead’s ‘independents’ and feel we have to celebrate, nourish and defend potentially vulnerable businesses, particularly with the planned arrival of a few more chains.

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Who have been the artists you’ve most enjoyed working with? Is there one standout moment in your career?

As I am completely freelance the variety has been huge, but last year was special as Nigel Kennedy and Maxim Vengerov came to perform concertos with Oxford Philomusica, an orchestra with offices in Willesden who I perform with regularly. As a child, I listened to these two for inspiration and both surpassed my expectations as musicians and all round wonderful people.

On the whole, it’s the venues that still get me and I love phoning my Nan in Tenby to tell her I’ve been at Abbey Road or the Royal Albert Hall. Oh, and playing to the penguins on the Falkland Islands was pretty special!

If you had to write your own epitaph, what would it say?

A Welsh girl with a short attention span and a passion for all types of music who fiddled her way to London.

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