View Full Version : 10 Questions for Alison Stephens

Jan-20-2010, 8:50am
10 Questions for Alison Stephens

Classical mandolinist Alison Stephens drops by for an extended interview with the Mandolin Cafe. Find out why she's in demand for everything from movie soundtracks to concerts and theater work in England.

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Jan-20-2010, 10:11am
What a great article, about one of my favorite mandolin players. I printed out copies for some of my non-computerish musical friends.

Paul Kotapish
Jan-20-2010, 6:30pm
Agreed. Very nice interview with incredibly detailed, earnest responses.

Jan-20-2010, 10:23pm
Wow. Amazing story. Brava, Alison! What a great read at the end of the day. This cheered me up immensely after reading the depressing tale of the custom-build-gone-bad on the other side of the cafe.


Jill McAuley
Jan-20-2010, 11:42pm
Inspiring stuff indeed - brightened up what was a very grey and stormy day here!


Jan-22-2010, 3:30am
of the 10 things i'd like to say to alison stephens, the first would be "thank you!" great interview - loved the "very long and tedious journey from sowff' london to north london" reference ... travel documents in order, were they?

- "battersea" bill

Dan Hoover
Jan-22-2010, 12:18pm
Another great interview,thank's Scott..and thank you Alison,What a remarkable lady you are,very inspirational...not just for those of us who have a illness but for everyone..cheers to you..

Jan-23-2010, 3:32pm
Wow! nice article. strength of women shows up again; may she never get cancer again.

Jan-23-2010, 7:53pm
AS's playing, was just one more reason I enjoyed The Fantastic Mr. Fox!

Tripp Johnson
Jan-24-2010, 6:36am
Great person, great player, great article. Thanks!

Jan-24-2010, 11:52am
A delightful interview with a delightful and insightful mandolinist of the first order. If I had a question, it would have concerned her being selected to contribute to the soundtrack for "Fantastic Mr. Fox." No doubts about her ability, just her style might not have made her the first choice for a soundtrack that cleaves closer to bluegrass and country music. Still, if you want the best available and she's nearby ... 'nuff said! And I would have liked to learn something about how the music was recorded. I did appreciate the behind-the-scenes glimpse of recording for "Captain Corelli's Mandolin," a film which I had avoided due to poor reviews, but now may have to rent just for the music.

Jan-24-2010, 1:47pm
Hi - just thought 'd answer Journeybear's comment about Fantastic Mr Fox.....I have worked with that composer: Alexandre Desplats on several films. He is very much a "classical musician" - he started out life as a classical flautist. He chose me to play on he film as he knew me ad what I do and he is VERY fussy and pedantic (in a good but slightly frustrating way!). The banjo player on that soundtrack is John Paricelli who played first mandolin on Corelli film. John's "day job" is an extremely accomplished an well known jazz guitarist. So John was trying to play those "bluegrassy" bits in a much more bluegrass style and Alxandre came out of the box and told him off and said it was supposed to sound like "bluegrass alla VIVALDI" !! So my more "classical"approach was exactly what he wanted! So, sorry, but a more bluegrassy player was the last thing Alexandre wanted!
Incidentally, all the recorder players on that score (and there were 4 of them) all come from very classical circles not folk....so it was a deliberate "plan"!

Jan-24-2010, 2:52pm
Thank you so much for that. My goodness - what a resource this Café is!

Just so there's no misunderstanding, I had no quibbles with the music. Indeed, I was quite delighted by it, and was pleasantly surprised to see Alison Stephens' name in the credits - and to even get top billing, considering banjo was featured most prominently. In retrospect, Mr. Desplat's plan worked very nicely, as there was definitely something more than the ordinary about the music - something quite fantastic, in keeping with the overall magical tone of the film.

Mandolin Cafe
Jan-20-2018, 9:04am
Sad anniversary for the publication of this interview from 2010. Alison was someone I'd met a few times and she was a wonderful person and a uniquely talented mandolinist. Not 10 months after the interview ran Cancer took her life. Rest in peace.

Jim Garber
Jan-20-2018, 3:21pm
Alison was an excellent player and a very generous teacher. I regret that I never was fortunate to meet her but we had a few very nice correspondences via email. Before her illness I was trying to get her to come over here to the US. Thanks, Scott, for the remembrance.