Q&A: Fred Lonberg-Holm

FLH: Throughout my life I’ve been lucky to find inspiration in all sorts of stuff.  A leaf, a novel, a person’s history, a machine, a map, a concert… I still find a lot of inspiration in things and people around me (I am lucky to know and work with some very inspiring people). But at some point I realized that my biggest  inspiration is whatever material I am working with at that specific moment.  I guess this is why I like improvising (and painting) so much. 

FLH: In the music world, I could fill the page with names of my favorite people.  I’m lucky to know so many incredible musicians. Outside music, Johan Galtung crosses my mind more and more. I don’t read a lot of contemporary fiction but love Sinclair Lewis, Graham Greene, Hans Fallada. I love many painters but do continue to feel that Richter is the greatest painter of our era.

FLH: I’ll admit to being pretty out of the loop on current films. The most interesting visual storytelling I have run across in the recent past are some series on the streaming services. This includes Reservation Dogs, Fargo, Jury Duty (good cringe), Curb Your Enthusiasm and This Fool. I’ll watch just about anything by Truffaut, Bresson, Bunuel, Godard, Mellville, Tati, and even more outlier types like Robert and Corneau.  And of course I’m a sucker for movies featuring cello. Sweet Smell of Success, Take the Money and Run and The Hunger immediately come to mind.

FLH: I have been enjoying watching and listening to contemporary South African cellists.  I know of two which means there must be more to learn about. 

FLH: If this means groups I might be a member of, I can honestly say I don’t dream about things like that.  TBH, “super groups” are rarely (if ever)  “super” interesting to me and I doubt my presence would improve things.  On the other hand, it would be great to have a time machine and to be in the audience for so many groups I have only read about or heard on recordings.  But where to start?  Tansen might be my first stop but I bet there were some awesome musicians thousands of years BCE all over the planet.

FLH: Every performance has some sort of impact, positive, negative, or somewhere in between.  It might have been some time since a concert really changed everything (maybe Cecil Taylor solo over 20 years ago?). But I can say that a few concerts (to be un-named) really made me question why I am still doing this!

FLH: I listen to a lot of music that would surprise no-one.  That said, I tend not to obsessively listen to any one recording or even genre.  I did love the first Lady Gaga record.  I’m also pretty fond of music from African-American churches across many eras.