Zubin Kanga: Six in Sixty

Early bird or night owl? 

I’ve always been a night owl, and it was exacerbated when I was a student at the Royal Academy of Music, practising late into the evenings when the pianos were more available. These days, I often need to be up early for recordings, meetings or lecturing, but I still get my best work done at night. 

One routine you swear by? 

Stretching is really important as a musician, as your body is always being pulled in particular directions. As most of my day is either at a piano or at a computer, I stop regularly to stretch, and try to fit in a yoga or exercise session a few evenings a week. 

Can’t travel without…?

It’s important to care for your ears, so noise-cancelling headphones are great for both working and relaxing on busy trains and long-haul flights. And I always take ear plugs to ensure I can sleep – even the better hotels can get a lot of street noise if they’re in the centre of a city.

Who or what has influenced you most in your career? 

I’ve premiered more than 150 works by composers from around the world, and they continue to inspire me. Whether it’s a new approach to composition, an innovative use of a piece of technology, or some wild interdisciplinary approaches requiring some new skills to learn, collaborating with composers has been the central focus of my career.

Favourite city and why? 

Having grown up in Australia, London is still really exciting to me with such a vibrant arts scene. One could go to concerts, theatre productions and galleries all week and still not see everything. 

Guilty pleasure/indulgence?

I like a sharp suit – for performing, of course, but also in many other situations even if I find myself relatively over-dressed. I find it fascinating how people express themselves through their choice of clothing, and how easily other’s perceptions can change just based on a choice of colour. I’d love to collaborate with a designer to create something more unusual (and perhaps a little bit sci-fi) to wear on stage.

Zubin Kanga is a London-based pianist, composer and technologist and Director of Cyborg Soloists. His projects are focussed around expanding the possibilities of the piano through cutting-edge technologies. His latest album, Cyborg Pianist, featuring new commissions from Laura Bowler, Shiva Feshareki, Oliver Leith, Emily Howard and Laurence Osborn, is out now on NMC.