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BILL NEWMAN in conversation with Petr Altrichter


<< Continued from last week

Maintaining the standard of the orchestra can be hard, especially when first and second players often change position. 'There are many various ways you can choose. You have to repeat certain things at rehearsals, but after several years in my profession I think I understand a little bit about what it is in the music, although you never understand what lies behind it. You always have to try something, you understand, but if someone has a problem you have to see it with your eyes even if you don't have the power in your arms, to find the solution. It is the easiest thing in the world to say "you are wrong", but the real way is to help them in what is important. What is important in my own life, I will probably learn at the moment of my death.'

'Every day I try to remember what the concert was like. I have conducted thousands, but when I look back I am reminded of little things like Tokyo, 1991, when I conducted the New World Symphony and there was some interesting wind solos. When I performed it here I cannot remember. I'm sorry!

Whatever the virtues or detractions of performing the same music over a period, it always has that uplifting sense of feeling and communication for listeners. 'Sometimes I look around at the audience and see an old grandmother sitting at the end of a row, or two or three people enjoying what they are hearing the first time. This is much more important than anything you read in the papers. Often, I am thankful that conducting is my life. How much better than those people sitting around talking, listening to the radio or watching television. Such rubbish!' I agree, but we live in a world where other commentators' statements from prepared scripts are forced on us regardless of our own opinions. Occasionally this can fill concert halls for the chosen few, but more often audiences stay away unless organisations like 'The Friends of the Phil' encourage continued support.

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Copyright © 12 July 2001 Bill Newman, Edgware, UK




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