Auditions, teachers and early tragedy

MusicTheory2As you will recall from my first blog post, the BBC – in the form of Roy Plomley and Ronald Cook – had written to the London conservatoires on my behalf, suggesting that they should hear me. It was now Easter time in 1970, and the first of those auditions was at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama.  I arrived early in the morning and was presented with a three-hour written exam.  Having neither foreseen nor prepared for a career in music, what did I know about musical theory?

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Meeting von Karajan

KarajanDuring 1978, I was in Munich to record for the Bayerische Rundfunk.  I hadn’t met my German agent (Herr Stoll) before, and my agent in England suggested that I buy a bottle of whisky (duty free) on my outward journey, and give it to him when we met.  I went to visit Herr Stoll on a Friday morning after my final rehearsal, only to be told that he couldn’t see me as he had a problem that needed his full attention.  Stoll’s secretary informed me that he was on the phone to Herbert von Karajan, who was trying to find a Tamino for Die Zauberflöte. Continue reading

Where it all began

DesertIslandDiscsI had joined the BBC as a clerk in the Gramophone Library after I left school, and after five years had worked my way up to one of the assistant Librarians.  One of my main programmes was the all time favourite ‘Desert Island Discs’.  I had to collect all the records required for the programme from the library, and test them in the studio for transmission quality. Continue reading