Inspirational Insight


Principal of Tring Park School for the Performing Arts, Stefan Anderson, shines a spotlight on some of his life inspirations

The place that keeps drawing me back

Italy, without question. I’ve taken more holidays there than anywhere else. I love the countryside: Umbria, ‘the green heart of Italy’ and Tuscany with its impressive rows of cypresses, spring to mind. The Italian Lakes, especially Lake Como with the lovely town of Bellagio, are beautiful, as are Sorrento and the stunning Amalfi Coast. I never tire of the art, architecture and atmosphere of Florence, Siena and Venice. Last, but by no means least, there is the wonderful food and wine and the Italian people themselves.

Perfect soundtrack when I’m on the move

This is a tricky one for me, as I'm a musician, so I find it difficult to single out one favourite soundtrack. On the classical side: Bach’s Magnificat is very cheering or the uber-romantic symphonies of Rachmaninov. I used to have the Dire Straits Brothers in Arms album right by my car’s CD player in the late 80s and early 90s. Now it’s Queen's Greatest Hits, alternating with Simon and Garfunkel’s album Bridge Over Troubled Water, not classical but absolutely classic.

Preferred hangout close to home

I live 500 yards from the entrance to Tring Park, owned by the Woodland Trust, which is on the edge of the Chiltern Hills AONB. There are beautiful woodlands, pretty towns, villages and hamlets. Exploring gives me endless pleasure. On the other side of the Chilterns, is my favourite restaurant in the world: Le Manoir aux Quat’Saisons. The setting is glorious and the food stunning.

When I travel, I’m never without

I’m an inveterate reader and always have been. I take The Week and The Spectator with me to keep up to date with current affairs as well as Private Eye, for a different slant on what’s going on in the UK and the wider world. Also, I'll have whatever book I’m reading at the moment, which is usually a biography, memoir or British/European history. If I hadn’t been a musician, I would have become a historian specialising in the Tudors and Elizabethans.

Favourite theatre show

For straight theatre, it has to be Noel Coward’s Private Lives. It’s a supremely clever and well-written play. Comedy and wit are much harder to write and perform than ‘angst’ and yet there are serious themes underlying the brittle and brilliant exchanges between Amanda and Elyot.

For a musical, it has to be West Side Story. Bernstein was a musical genius: what else explains such gems as the duet Somewhere and the fantastically rousing and uplifting all-singing, all-dancing America? Who could ask for anything more?


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