<< -- 2 -- Bill Newman AND YOUR COMPERE IS PAULA ROBISON!
'I took my chances by becoming more internationally flexible to bring
me in line with other countries -- Britain, France, Germany -- and their great
composers and artists of the past. I studied with Julius Baker, first flute
in New York, then Marcel Moyse the great French player, who was teaching
in the States at the time. All of us studied arias and songs, everything
which involved a printed text -- so that it became a communicative art. I
was just beginning to be interested in a solo career, and when he performed
on stage his playing was really beautiful, warm and embracing. Oh, I miss
I went through some of principal flautists from the London Orchestras,
past and present, who were also distinguished soloists in their own right
-- William Bennett, Richard Adeney, Gareth Morris ... Paul Davis? 'I admire
his playing so much' ... and my personal friend Susan Milan. 'Oh, she's
great, and her solo playing is such an influence on young players. You know,
having sufficient numbers of flautists around sort of satisfies a kind of
dream of mine to form an entirely new generation all performing various
music. Unlike violinists and dancers, you can't say who is the best, or
the ones you prefer. The flute isn't like that. When I got started I found
myself travelling alone, but now the scene is overcrowded! It's very gratifying.'
Now, you have every opportunity to exploit the talents of young musicians,
whatever instrument they perform. Here in Spoleto, at various festivals
elsewhere, the BBC Invitation Series. 'And those lovely locations, like
the Wigmore Hall in London. I played there and want to go back again. Performing
in that warm atmosphere with its beautiful surrounds. On stage you experience
the embracing atmosphere as you look at the smiling faces in the audience.
You can see everyone's head!'
I like the way you introduce the music and the musicians to the audience.
Gerard Schwarz was telling me how he talked to the public outside Seattle
Opera House every Sunday morning, and Leonard Slatkin has been clarifying
the message behind 20th Century Music on a regular basis in London concerts.
Is this all part of a re-education programme? 'Yes, many people who attend
concerts would like to know more about the music they are shortly to hear.
It's probably a new experience for them. I think it is a pity, because to
really enjoy a Beethoven Symphony one has to know the work previously. But
you can still understand it more fully, and I think that the audience we
have lost is now beginning to come back to us, beginning with the younger
'Music was dropped from schools in the States, as it was not considered
part of a child's training. Now, all of a sudden they realise that it is
a crucial part, as it reaches their souls. It's very important for the growth
of the child's ability and responsibility to think in a complex way. What
is very exciting is that it is not only Western European Music which is
being taught, but includes other global cultures together with the classical
music that we grew up with. There's a wonderful validity in all this!
'They are finding all kinds of new works, for example Indian Classical
music. Very complex, but invaluable to their experience. I think it will
take time to get back to where we were before, but when we do it will enrich
their lives. This is why we have to speak, as we want people to be open
so they are able to receive the best without being afraid. The need to feel
comfortable, because they haven't been in concert halls enough!'
Copyright © 24 May 2002
Bill Newman, Edgware, UK
A PAULA ROBISON BIOGRAPHY
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