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BILL NEWMAN talks to British clarinettist


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When you are playing it's not just you on your own; you're cueing everyone else while carrying on a kind of silent conversation which becomes far more than just a prompting exercise. It becomes a sharing thing. 'Sometimes, in the course of a performance you feel, in some funny way, that you are not there but the music channels through you'. You sense the audience even when you can't see them. 'They effect the way you play, encouraging and urging you on to greater heights, and you become aware if you momentarily lose their concentration. It's some intangible thing, so you have to gather them all together once again! Quite a mysterious spiritual, process in effect. I like the fact that concerts are a social gathering, which doesn't happen that often. We tend to be disintegrating into a society where people watch their tellys in their front rooms, and musical events are just one way of involving everyone.' In this sense I see you as an informal part of the proceedings; you dress to suit the occasion, even relating to the actual works you are performing - colours, shoulder pads, slacks instead of long skirts? 'Yes, I do! It puts me in the right mood.' In this unisex society in which we live, it's everyone for themselves. There's no competing against the men - Michael Collins is not concerned about what you are performing, and you cease to worry about what he is doing. You go your separate ways, there's no competition or rivalry any more, you are all musicians out there capturing audiences to the best of your abilities and you're confident that what you doing now is selling you and spreading the gospel.

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Copyright © 18 July 2000 Bill Newman, Edgware, UK





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