On Air Now
The Classic FM Concert with John Suchet 8pm - 10pm
11 May 2020, 11:31
Classical music is an important part of life for one of the UK’s foremost politicians, who has a particular passion for Beethoven piano sonatas.
Before he became a human rights lawyer, or leader of the opposition, it seems Sir Keir Starmer was something of a musical prodigy. In his early years he played the flute, piano, recorder and violin, and was once a young scholar at the Guildhall School of Music in London.
The former barrister, who was elected to succeed Jeremy Corbyn as leader of the Labour Party this April, spoke about his early musical years in an interview with On The Hill magazine, in answer to a question about his passions (which, he says, are “music, classical music”).
What kind of music, Starmer, Keir Starmer? “Beethoven piano sonatas”, he replies, pausing to add, “actually all things Beethoven.”
In the same interview, Starmer says his favourite musician is Israeli pianist-conductor Daniel Barenboim, whom he agrees is “known to be a difficult person”, “but like talented footballers, you accept this”.
Starmer, also the former Director of Public Prosecutions and Head of the Crown Prosecution Service, played his many instruments as a junior exhibitioner at the prestigious Guildhall School of Music, which he attended until the age of 18.
“I played the flute, piano, recorder and violin,” the politician says. “Then I realised at the age of 17-18 that the other people at the Guildhall were hugely talented, whereas I just practised hard.”
We’re yet to uncover video evidence of Starmer’s musical endeavours, but you never know, he might bring his recorder along to the next Prime Minister’s Questions.