HAPPENED TODAY - On December 6, 1953, the composer Andrew Violette was born in New York

Graham Waterhouse


Dear Maestro Waterhouse thank you for your interest in our website but above all thank you for agreeing to answer our questions.
Can you briefly give us some information about your background, about your life as a musician, related to your studies and training? Were there already musicians or composers in your family?
I was born into a musical family in North London. My father was a bassoonist and my mother a pianist, who trained in Munich and became a violin teacher. As children, my sisters and myself were soon started on stringed instruments and piano. Whilst a musically inclined schoolboy at a London public school, the emphasis was on a broad musical education. Cello was always my main instrument, but I also sang in a choir, learned piano, organ, composition and conducting. At University I studied composition and musicology; at German Hochschulen, I studied cello, also conducting and for a short while piano as well. The wide field of study was partly influenced by my father, who, besides being an eminent bassoonist, was also a musician of wide interests, embracing piano, viola, and musicology (more specifically organology – the history of musical instruments). I have always pursued a varied musical life, finding the different disciplines complementary to one another, especially cello and composition. Whilst cello playing and composing have remained constants, I have also worked as a conductor and a pianist. In recent years composing has become a greater priority.

Why did you choose the cello as your instrument?
To be frank, as six-year-old I did not choose cello, but my mother did, seeing I had strong hands and an apparent affinity for the instrument.

Who were your most significant teachers? Have you worked with other musicians who have, obviously, influenced your artistic growth?
My most memorable cello teachers were Maria Kliegel, Young-Chang Cho and Siegfried Palm, each of whom combined cellistic prowess with a high degree of musicality. Another strong influence was Celibidache, who encouraged me as a composer when I played under his direction with the Schleswig Holstein Festival Orchestra. In conversation, several of my literary London friends have offered inspiring ideas, as have also musician colleagues, family members, publishers…

[to be continued]