Francesca Lauri: ‘I watched the new West Side Story and I cried. Bernstein’s music is just incredible’

Collaborative pianist Francesca Lauri tells all in our Q&A

Francesca Lauri (Photo: Sophie Lefevre)
Francesca Lauri (Photo: Sophie Lefevre)

Francesca Lauri is an aspiring young collaborative pianist studying at Trinity Laban in London. She will be attending the Royal College of Music from September for her Postgraduate degree and is currently preparing for her appearance at the Manoel Theatre in April with her father, Carmine Lauri this April.

What’s the first thing you do when you wake up in the morning?

Check my emails and make a cup of coffee or get straight to the gym!

What is the best advice you’ve ever received?

If it doesn’t matter in a year, stop worrying about it so much. We can’t always be in control of what happens to us so try to do the best with what you’ve got and never be afraid to ask for help.

What do you never leave the house without?

I never leave the house without my airpods because I can’t go anywhere without listening to music on my journey.

Pick three words that describe yourself.

Determined, empathetic and sociable.

What do you consider to be your greatest achievement?

Getting a place and scholarships to all the music conservatoires I applied for this year and being able to choose my dream course at the Royal College of Music in London to study Collaborative Piano.

What is your guiltiest pleasure?

I love ordering food after a long day and binge-watching a show, but I am also guilty of shopping too much!

What is the most important lesson life has taught you?

That life can be so short, and we don’t know when it could be our last time with someone so try to make the most of every day, every memory and experience, and remember to appreciate the people who love you and care for you.

Property and cars aside what’s the most expensive thing you’ve ever bought?

I think the most expensive thing I have ever bought is my iPad which I use on a daily basis to read music and perform with. It has allowed me to widen my library of classical music whilst also being lighter, so I don’t hurt my shoulders carrying an array of books.

What is one thing you wish you knew when you were younger?

That people will come and go in your lifetime, but you will always have you, so make sure to be kind to yourself and to look after the person you want to become as you grow up. No one can tell you what career to have or what colour to change your hair to, you have to make the choices that make you happy even if others will disagree.

Who’s your inspiration?

I am inspired by so many people every day. The people who make it their life’s work to help others daily such as those who work for the NHS and other services, my family, my friends who are all working so incredibly hard to have the career they have dreamt about for years, and many others. I am inspired by the kindness in the people that I love.

What has been your biggest challenge?

My biggest challenge has always been knowing when to say no professionally as I love the work that I do and find t difficult to turn an opportunity down. I think it is important to follow your passion but not let it overshadow other essential aspects of your life such as family and friends, or time to explore other interests.

If you weren’t a collaborative pianist, what would you be doing?   

If I wasn’t a musician, I would’ve loved to pursue either English Literature with a focus on feminism, or a psychologist. Part of the reason I am focusing my passion into accompanying song, is because I love analysing poetry and in particular, French literature.     

If you could have dinner with any person, dead or alive, who would it be?

I would choose to be able to have one last pizza with a friend I lost a few years ago.

What’s your worst habit?

I’d like to cut down on my screen time. Like anyone these days, it’s easy to allow work and emails to get in the way of important down time and I would like to spend more time on other things that fulfil me such as exercise and socialising.

What are you like when you’re drunk?

As someone who is already quite loud, drinking definitely makes me even louder and more excitable. It almost always ends with a takeaway pizza.    

Who would you have play you in a film?

I have absolutely no idea. I think I would have to create a poll online and have people vote for most likely!

What is the trait you most deplore in others?

The thing that I hate the most is disrespect in any shape or form. It doesn’t take much to be kind to people, especially if they are a stranger to you because you never know what they might be dealing with alone.

What music would you have played at your funeral?

I would want to have ‘My Way’ by Paul Anka which is one of my favourite songs and I think it has some really inspiring lyrics.

What is your most treasured material possession?

My most treasured material possession is my piano. I have treasured memories of my grandad sitting with me to practice when I was young and those memories inspire me to make my family and myself proud of my achievements.

What is your earliest memory?

I remember when I was very young going to visit Prato della Valle with my grandparents who live in Padova, seeing all the big statues with my brother, and then going home to draw pictures of it and write in my notepad about it in my very bad handwriting! Another treasures memory is playing in the garden of my aunt in Malta with my cousin Antoine and running around the house causing trouble.   

When did you last cry, and why?

The last time was last week when I went to watch the new ‘West Side Story’ with my housemates, and I cried for the last 45 minutes because Bernstein’s music is just incredible, and the story is so emotional. I also sometimes get emotional when I perform with my duo partner, because I feel so deeply connected with the music and she sings so beautifully, it’s hard not to tear up. There’s something so special about being so in sync with someone and having the same passion for the music.

Who would you most like to meet?

I would love to meet Daniel Craig.

What’s your favourite food?

My favourite food is Italian. I especially love a special recipe my mum makes which involves pasta, mozzarella, tomatoes and tonno straight from Italy.

Who’s your favourite person on social media right now?

I don’t have any favourite influencers at the moment. Recently I have just enjoyed seeing what my close friends and family are getting up to, especially as it’s been more difficult to meet up with them over the last two years or so.

If you could travel in time, where would you go?

This question is easy! I would love to have been living my young years in the 1950s. I love their fashion, the music, the pace of life and the idea of no phones because I feel like people probably lived more in the moment. I would’ve loved to go and watch artists such as Frank Sinatra, Bobby Darin, Elvis Presley....

What book are you reading right now?

‘Small Pleasures’ by Clare Chambers.

If you could have any superpower, what would it be?

I think it would probably be to have the ability to turn back time. To be able to revisit a memory or go back and change something that I regret doing or not doing, being able to spend time with some people again.

What’s one thing you want to do before you die?

I would love to be able to tour the world and see all the places I’ve dreamed about visiting but haven’t had the chance to yet.

What music are you listening to at the moment?

I always listen to an array of different genres and artists, but recently I’ve been spending some time studying recordings of the Frank Violin Sonata and the Grieg Violin Sonata in G Major in preparation for the concert in April with my dad at the Manoel Theatre.

In the shower or when you’re working out, what do you sing/listen to?

Sometimes I need a break from classical music, so I like to listen to artists such as Earth Wind and Fire, Billy Joel, Stevie Wonder and many more. When I am at the gym, I always listen to upbeat music to help me stay energised and recently my main artists have been Ariana Grande, Doja Cat and Lizzo.