Sir Neville Marriner – Classical Music’s Superstar

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I had the great honor to interview here one of the most prominent figures in Classical music living today, renown violinist, composer, Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra founder, founding artistic director of the Academy of St. Martin-in-the-Fields, and conductor extraordinaire, Sir Neville Marriner. The accomplishments of this eighty six year young maestro span over four hundred and fifty recorded works and over four decades.

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SIR NEVILLE MARRINER himself feels that Mozart is perhaps the greatest composer to date ‘because’ he states, ‘of the sheer volume of his work.’ reminding us, ‘Mozart has written opera, symphony, sacred and chamber music – not to mention his piano concerti.’

With a nod to Hollywood, Sir Neville Marriner served as musical director for Milos Foreman’s hit film Amadeus, starring Gary Oldman, among other films. His lists of accomplishments are so weighty, I here refer you to the following mini biography of this virtuoso from one of the fine organizations he founded, The Academy of St. Martin in the Fields.

‘Like his mentor and hero, Pierre Monteux, Sir Neville Marriner began life as a violinist, playing first in a string quartet and trio, then in the London Symphony Orchestra, during which period he founded the Academy of St Martin in the Fields.

After his studies in America with Maestro Monteux, he began his conducting career in 1969, when he founded the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra, at the same time developing and extending the size and repertoire of the Academy, as well as guest conducting orchestras all over the world. In 1979 he became Music Director and Principal Conductor of both the Minneapolis Symphony Orchestra and the Sudwest Deutsche Radio Orchestra in Stuttgart, positions he held late into the 1980’s.

Subsequently, he has continued to work around the world, with orchestras in Vienna, Berlin, Paris, Milan, Athens, New York, Boston, San Francisco and Tokyo.’ His recording career is one of the most documented of any conductor in the world, and his massive touring schedule relentlessly surpasses that of most rock stars.

‘He made his opera debut conducting The Marriage of Figaro at the Aix-en-Provence Festival, his U.S. debut in Los Angeles with La Cenerentola, then a Salzburg Mozarteum production of Il Re Pastore. He opened the new opera house in Athens in 2005 with a production of The Magic Flute. Twice honored for his services to music in his own country, he has recently been awarded honors in France, Germany and Sweden.’ (source in quotations: www.asmf.org)

An exclusive interview with Sir Neville Marriner

SIR NEVILLE MARRINER: Thank you! I appreciate that. Tell me, what is your name and what do you do?

THE HOLLYWOOD SENTINEL: I started this publication The Hollywood Sentinel. It’s the Hollywood Sentinel.com, on the internet. That’s where the entertainment business, a lot of it is heading. So it’s a good thing. But I am also a film producer, that is my main forte.’

SIR NEVILLE MARRINER: Ahh! Interesting! Great! So you know where all of the bodies are buried!

(We both laugh loudly)

THE HOLLYWOOD SENTINEL: I want to ask you, what are your thoughts and feelings on other types of music, do you listen to other styles or like them? Do you like jazz or blues or rock for example?

SIR NEVILLE MARRINER: I will say that honestly I never really got in to jazz. Now, my son on the other hand, (Andrew Marriner, who is lead clarinetist for the London Symphony Orchestra) will tell you differently. He likes jazz and rock and pop. And he tries to get me to see an appreciation for other forms. I do have an appreciation for jazz, I can say that I like some of jazz, but not really much. My son is the one for that. I have lived classical. This is my world, my life.

BRUCE EDWIN: What do you think of contemporary music, of pop and rock?

SIR NEVILLE MARRINER: You know, when I used to try to listen to these pop musicians (laughing), I would think, here are these people, most of them only know about three chords, and most of them can’t even sing! They aren’t very good, are they? (laughing)

BRUCE EDWIN: (laughs).What about rock? Are there any rock bands you like?

SIR NEVILLE MARRINER: No, not really. It’s the same to me. I grew up in a different world. Classical. This is what I know and love.

BRUCE EDWIN: I understand. I can respect that. Sir Neville, Obviously you are legendary, you have done extraordinary things, you have mastered the classical world, but I am wondering, in your life now, is there any thing left that you still want to do in the world? Is there still any further legacy you want to leave?

SIR NEVILLE MARRINER: (His eyes light up) Yes! The opera! I would really be fond of doing more opera, writing and conducting the music, and working on the stage. In an opera, you have both elements, the stage, as you know from film, and the music, like in film. But it is all very organic, it is all happening now, this moment. And I would love to work in both elements, to go over here (motions to the left) and do the music, and then to go over here (motions to the right) and work with the performers, and be in both of those worlds, and see that come together.

BRUCE EDWIN: That’s beautiful. It sounds wonderful. I’m sure you will. And it will be amazing.

SIR NEVILLE MARRINER: Thank you.

BRUCE EDWIN: I Hope to see you again some day soon.

SIR NEVILLE MARRINER: Thank you, thank you again.

Fin.

(c) 2009,2010, The Hollywood Sentinel

Special thanks to The Recording Academy(c) for their very kind hospitality.