After an English degree he went into marketing and PR. However, after a musician training project with the ASMF in Colchester he decided to undertake a career change to become a musician and animateur. He held an apprenticeship at Spitalfields Music and trained on the job working for institutions such as Wigmore Hall and Glynbourne. He says he is very happy with this decision to change career as he has gained confidence in the process as well as it being a journey of discovery.
Sam explained that what he does is not teaching nor is it his aim is to bring classical music to people but rather to ‘make music with people’. Regardless of technical ability and personality, music can be a meeting point as it is such a collaborative art form.
It was suggested that classical music should look outside itself and be open to influence from folk and art. This was the case in the past for composers such as Dvorak and Liszt but today classical music has become very fixed, as we play the same repertoire. Sam explained that you cannot have a dialogue on one person’s terms but it is necessary to talk to others. This is the case with classical music.
I asked what his ideal concert would be. He replied quickly that it would be comfortable and not too long. However, he was not so sure about the rest. The setting would enable him to listen (he often finds drinks and movement distracting) though people should have the choice whether they want to listen or not. He likes to hear the performers talk but it is not essential as some have the power to communicate through their music while for others it can be awkward if they are embarrassed. He concluded that there was no one good way, as he would rather experience lots of music in different settings i.e. from a church to a jazz club.
I asked the best way to engage children with music. He said that it is crucial to love music yourself, and get them genuinely involved.
I asked if there was anything for the future that would be good to change. He feels that it is important to integrate education schemes into the heart of orchestra and ensure there is training for their musicians.