<< -- 3 -- Bill Newman SHARING THE RESPONSE
There is a lot of talk about the conductor's eye contact with
his players. With you, your legs are never still like your arms and hands.
And the posture -down, facing the players when you want to be exact in your
intentions, with the dramatic upward- sideways sweep to usher in the next
tutti ... 'The truth is, I don't know, and I would be
very worried to see myself. I must be concentrating because if I am really
in the music it must be natural. Music is breathing, it is time, the beat,
pulsation -- sometimes very fast, sometimes very slow.'
You mentioned another teacher who inspired you to take up conducting.
'Daniel was for the orchestra; the other was the choir master of the
Moravian Teachers Association from the first part to the middle of last
century -- Jaroslav Fata. Janácek wrote those very difficult choruses
for them to sing. I was very happy studying with Fata, who could also be
hard. "Third bar from the top", then "second bar from
the bottom -- transpose into the dominant". It was very thorough training
and soon it became automatic. We had to spend hours and hours with him at
the piano, and very soon I was able to conduct.' First of all, this
was with the school orchestra, then there was the Besancon Festival competition,
after which he became assistant conductor to Vaclav Neumann in Germany.
'I sat in at his rehearsals, after which he allowed me to take
over certain ones myself. Then I conducted some concerts, which continued
later with the Czech Philharmonic.' Meeting up with Libor Pesek at
Parabidce and Prague, the two became firm friends and colleagues. Pesek
first invited him to come to Liverpool in 1994.
What happens after Liverpool? 'Who knows! Nobody knows what happens
to conductors, and having family obligations with children who need to study
imposes certain priorities. Not knowing what is to come in a year's
time can be good because you can lead your life with moderation! I still
have a contract in Konstanz until 2004, but conductors are required to be
here and there. You have many adult, professional orchestras, but in Konstanz
I can see the results of my training at the very good school I attended
far easier, and how things have developed with my orchestra there over a
five year period. In Liverpool, I have more freedom to think deeper about
Korsakov and Brahms! You can assess the professional results quite clearly
after the concert has taken place.'
Copyright © 5 July 2001
Bill Newman, Edgware, UK
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