Entertainment

Weekend Q&A: Matthew Quinn, musical director of Belfast choir Cappella Caeciliana

Matthew Quinn (26) is musical director of the Belfast-based Cappella Caeciliana choir, performing this month with New Dublin Voices at St Malachy's Church in Belfast

Matthew Quinn, musical director of Cappella Caeciliana
Matthew Quinn, musical director of Cappella Caeciliana

How do you unwind at the weekend?

I'm a social person and like to meet friends for coffee at Cut the Mustard, a café opposite where I live in in Streatham, south London. I love listening to music, different types depending on mood. A lot of jazz, often modern like Yussef Dayes who is funky, and also classic rock, because my dad was into AC/DC and Led Zeppelin. At the moment I'm in a Snow Patrol phase.

What do you recall most about weekends growing up?

I grew up in Belfast and remember going to St George's Market. We'd get a hot drink and enjoy the sensory overload of smells. I also played in the City of Belfast Youth Orchestra as a second violin. Dvorak said he liked being in the middle of the orchestra; I liked playing rather badly at the back. At seven or eight, I joined a drama group with my twin sister Meadbh. We've gone in different directions and she's just made her BBC debut in Sister Boniface Mysteries. Did I hang out? My mother said I enjoyed staying out late.

Have you a must-listen weekend radio programme or podcast?

Radio 3's Record Review with Andrew McGregor. Hearing multiple recordings punctures your ears.

Is there must-watch TV or is it Netflix?

The Philip Pullman, His Dark Materials.

Is Sunday still special?

Very much so. My Sunday has always revolved around music. At nine, I was in St Peter's Cathedral choir, later in the University of Manchester choir, which was a steep learning curve. St Augustine said: "Whenever you sing, you pray twice." It's no coincidence as we get more secular, there's a declining music tradition. I began with the choir in 2021, was mentored by Harry Christophers of The Sixteen. Some of our singers are semi-professional and the standard is very high. We're singing Frank Martin's Mass for Double Choir with the New Dublin Voices at the concert. He thought it was between him and God and it wasn't performed for a while but is a reflective, dramatic work.

Have you a favourite eatery or is it a takeaway?

A massive shout out to Abacus Chinese in south Belfast, our family's favourite - mine's a chicken satay.

How do you feel on Sunday night about Monday morning?

My working week changes, so there's always a bit of excitement. I spend Sunday night with the Cappella and might go for a drink afterwards.

Tickets for the Cappella Caeciliana concert, Two Cities, at St Malachy's Church on Alfred Street, Belfast on January 28 at 7.30pm can be bought from caeciliana,org and Matchetts Music (free for students and under-25s).