Monday, May 30, 2011

Balsom soothes and sizzles!

My interview with the lovely and brilliant Alison Balsom is in today's Independent.

She has some strong words, too, that can go under our JDCMB Music for All banner - hopefully a cause of the type she will espouse as a patron of the new Mayor's Fund for music scholarships, which was launched by Boris Johnson a few weeks ago. Alas, the first paragraph below hit the cutting room floor at the paper, but here it is, plus some:

“What worries me greatly is the lack of value put onto arts education,” she says. “Because it doesn’t lead directly to a well-paying job, people think it should be cut from schools. I think this is a travesty! I do earn my living through music, but learning music as a child taught me so much more. It taught me to be a rounded person. It helped with self-discipline, it taught me about working with other people, it’s a way of expressing myself and of organising my thoughts. If I hadn’t had that, I don’t know how I’d have developed those parts of my brain. And I’d never have started to play if I hadn’t had access to heavily subsidised lessons. Music should be available to everybody, not just to people who can afford it.”

“Since I’ve had Charlie [her 14-month-old son] it’s become even clearer to me that even very young children have an instinctive response to music,” she adds. “It’s like a fast track into their brains. It’s so obvious. How can we ignore that? To lose that connection would be a dangerous thing for our culture.” Helpfully, Charlie toddles by, singing to himself.

It will take figureheads like Balsom to bring the cause to the fore – and at least she is there to try. “I want to get that message across,” she says. “But often people are more interested in the Armani dresses and the diamonds. And the fact that I’m a female trumpet player.”  
Here she is at the Last Night of the Proms two years ago, with a spot of Piazzolla...