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<<  -- 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 him!'

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 people.'

'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!'

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Copyright © 24 May 2002 Bill Newman, Edgware, UK







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