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A man with a mission; Garry Walker tells Michael Tumelty why he is determined to bring new music to his audience
[2 Edition]
The Herald - Glasgow (UK)
Author: Tumelty, Michael
Date: Nov 17, 2004
Start Page: 17
Abstract (Document Summary)

[Garry Walker] is pounding the beat. That is not a comment on the conducting style of the RSNO's young principal guest conductor who, at 30, commands the No 2 post in Scotland's biggest symphony orchestra. It's a reference to what he calls the "shoe-leather" side of his new job. In the past two months, Edinburgh-born Walker has made around 15 "house calls" to business societies, universities, colleges, music clubs and societies, friends' associations and support groups. If he could make more time, he'd go further. "God, I'd love to get into every school music class in Scotland."

What's he up to? Proselytising? Drumming up business? Trying to increase the audience for his orchestra? Sell tickets? Shouldn't conductors just conduct? Be seen (only from behind) and not heard? That isn't Walker's way. Walker is a talker, an unstoppable enthusiast for the music that is his passion as much as his job. He burns to communicate. He always has, since the day I met him, shortly after he won the Leeds Conducting Competition, when nobody knew him, he had little experience, no job, no influence, no outlet for his ideas and he wasn't even sure if he wanted to conduct in the first place.

Everybody assumed that, by "something challenging", he meant contemporary music. To a degree, they were right. Walker clearly has a skill in that area, and, at the very start of the RSNO's current season, took the music of Sciarrino and Sally Beamish to Perth, turned to face his audience, quipped that the doors were locked, chatted a little about the pieces of music, used the orchestra to illustrate the sound worlds and broke rather a lot of ice with a naturally suspicious audience through his articulate and easy-going delivery.

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