Hugh Waldock on Singing, 'Total Musicianship' and Finding Your Feet!

My Prize Wining Poem The Crystal Bed 1993
My first Prize Plaque


My first prize winning poem at 15
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Art Movie featuring Michaly Haidu's Andante
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I started out on a long adventure in 1997 with pursuing a career in singing Classical Music as a soloist.

It was a pragmatic decision based on the fact that I wanted my first friendship to live on in some way.... choir was all we did together so that's why I wanted to be a singer to sing her praises at first.

It wasn't out of monetary ambition. I won a singing prize and I didn't get the grade I wanted in German, os I tried my best to do that. I had sung from the age of 9 in an Anglican Church Choir and School Chapel Choir in the 1980s and 90s for about 9 years. It really was like being a hamster on a treadmill practising three times a week and I didn't really love signing and I never knew why I didn't love it like Alfie Bo. At first, I was just aiming at going to GSMD to become like my first teacher and have a career like Jane Bagnall's that's what I thought I was capable of singing teacher at a private school. I think when I said I wanted to be a singer that's what she liked about me too. They all rated Tom Fletcher and Tim Kiddell higher than me even at that stage, but I did win the competition at school against both of our top singers in 1995. That's what got me in the door with it.

I think if I'd stayed with the Rudofus people I would have done better they had their head's screwed on. I had Ashley Stafford as a teacher briefly. He was an RCM teacher whom I had as a private tutor and he was right he was worth 52 pounds an hour in 1997 and I should have trusted him on that. He was the best singing teacher I ever had. That was one hot headed mistake I made as a teenager thinking I could overcome everything without support.

The thing is I wasn't in the top set at school. I wasn't groomed for the top like my best friend in the first year the management consultant Andrew Underwood. He knew what he was doing and they wanted him to work for KPMG from the start. that tends to give the impression of aloofness with people when you do get what you deserve which is an opportunity for beating the so called best in your school 3 times and lifting 3 trophies and gaining one nomination. You don't just have to be in the top 3% to get a prize you have to be the very best in the school at it at that level. I think that deserves credit whatever the reason for that win. Other people think they deserved those prizes more than me and they don't because they didn't win them. People say Rio Ferdinand deserved to win the World Cup more than Per Mertesacker, but Per actually won it. I really hate them for that, because that is a marketing that belongs in the Third Reich if they really did win it and are not allowed credit for it at 43. In my opinion, if you win, a competition you win it. I hate the British for selling their losers as winners like Hansen on MOTD, because the German player deserved that credit. Per might have been half a yard slower maybe but he was a Harrier Jump Jet not a Mirage. They were faster, but not as effective. I'm sick of Mutton being sold as lamb. It was never my intention to be up in lights with it I just won anyway. the first time I won for reading a poem about my first love in a speech and voice competition in year 4, I won with an unanimous verdict so they can't deny that's not a sign of genius. Pure lies. My acting nomination was good too.

They attempted to provide a glass ceiling for me in singing for years because they didn't vet me for the job, but it was precisely for that reason when I did do a professional caseload of 52 performances as an amateur chorister in a year I didn't really enjoy it as much as doing it moderation. I love singing but in moderation adn ot more than playing the piano or violin or composing or writing or speaking languages or rendering recordings or anything else I do cooking for example. It's so difficult to enjoy it that much when people are that determined to beat you at it 100% of the time, but I can sing and what I really enjoy is doing it as part of a holistic musical package with sound tech, violin, piano, voice and composition. I believe in being the total musician like Johann Kreuff was a footballer. it wasn't me to be a gala aria singer and take delight in singing the same 10 arias to a million people for a million pound a time that's just dirt boring to me. I want to drive innovation and be prolific like Mozart and Beethoven. That's my view. Mozart was banned from singing too as a full time profession, so what? It was never my intention to be Alfie anyway. I just wanted to try it and choose a good profession to make a living at it was nothing more than that at first.

I might have punched above my weight at first but I really did have talent not marketing. I'm hoping to buck the trend and make my life as a musician and artist work at the end of the day.

What I really want is for the total musicians to be allowed to be total musicians, like Ian Botham was an al rounder in cricket. Mozart was such a person, he could sing, play, compose, conduct he was allowed to develop as that person, even a lesser genius like Christoph Willibald Glück was allowed to innovate and be that person also. Why should we be forced to be so tunnel visioned about singing at 17 when we don't even know who we are in life? Especially if you were coping with a family bereavement so early on such as I was. People ned time to develop. Rome wasn't built in a day! In Germany, that's allowed to a certain extent in my experience but the UK is lacking in the pressure it puts on it's young musicians to have so much so young. Alfred Brendel wasn't that person so why should we not be him I didn't lift the lid until I was 16 either and have had just 3 year's piano lessons.I've immense sympathy for Alfred because there is immense pressure exerted on self taught older piano learners. One of the most gifted young women pianists I ever saw in Isabella Faber at 22 had just 1/2 semester's lessons and she could play the Theme to Amelie I thought that was sublime genius and people aren't discovered because they are late flowering don't don't just want one thing in life. Maybe I could apply to talk about this at the conference. There has to be more of a balance between what the industry wants and what musicians want themselves.

Your conference is so lovely. I like meeting all the top people even if I am 43 these things just didn't exist when I was 17 for people like me I wasn't informed about them deliberately if they did. just to talk to a Hahn or a Casale and have some lunch with them. My only desire is that they will repsect me for being the musician I wan to be. that I can be a European musician who can pass shoot and dribble, and who is tactically aware and a total musician rather than the blood guts and thunder I'm used to in the 'beautiful English game'. I hate the way it's done in England I really do. It's pure snobbery in most cases because they eject you form the courses for no other reason that they don't like you as a person rather than what you've achieved and that would never happen in quality focussed Germany, if you pass there that's cool. I like it that way. I'm hoping Oxford will be more sympathetic than Cambridge when I start doing my creative writing course with them in April. I'm taking Cambridge to the ombudsman for sheer snobbery. I didn't say or do anything wrong at first I was just booted out for a load of baloney they'd made up and I'd got up tight about that's not talent that's fascism pure on their part. I know that form reading German Marxist criticism from Ödön von Horvath in the late 1930s those guys don't know what they are starting in our society. It's pure ignorance. It's against the sprit of the original web, and I hate it. I really loved Cambridge because my first love was a candidate and possible graduate of Pembroke and I met Sir Stephen Cleobury and sang for him when I went on a summer course for what is now the Rudolfous foundation. I loved and aspired to be their man since I was 15 years old because she was so into it. I finally get a place in their dept of Continuing Education to study art history and improve music videos. and I'm thrown out for basically saying my uncle was an artist and introducing the to his work to mine. He called me dumb I retaliated because I'd just been through a 1 year case with the OU in the ombudsman's review which I won and he stuck the knife in my back. He wasn't even very good at art history and never did his homework. He thought Bourdelaire was a useless critic of Guys's work; he couldn't understand him he thought he was a lesser Hogarth basically. If he'd actually READ the article he was asked to read for HW he would have known that Bourdelaire is probably Guys mocking himself and criticising himself. I think he was just an establishment stooge and he wasn't that bright at all. So average he was just jealous.

When doing the art history course at Cambridge I finished the module on Renaissance to the beginning of C.20 and I was really enjoying it. I wrote a 4000 word essay on Pugin's art and architecture and I took many photos and created 5 little musical IMovies. this is one fo them. It's called An interpretation of Andante' featuring a playing of Michaly Haidu's Andante form book 1 of Zongoraiskola the Hungarian Piano School. The video has a musical form. there are three clips Clip A is a shot of me walking, clip b is a pan on a key near a boatyard both with sound effects, clip c is a 360 on the quay. the music is A: with a different coda which is played twice and the is a mirror image of itself ABCBA. that's my innovation. There is an alien invasion one as well with different classical music. I'll add a link to the full list of movies on U-tube if it doesn't work on my profile.

I also produce scenic videos this is probably my best one using Imovie. I have now acquired Final Cut and Motion but I can't use them to their full potential yet. If you are a student or teacher be aware you can download 5 Pro Apps from Apple as an educational bundle with perpetual licensing for just £200. I'm really looking forward to my HOFA Diploma and degree.

Final Cut Pro
Logic Pro 10
Main Stage (Sound creation programme with 76GB of sounds)

Well worth having!

article posted by:Hugh Waldock, Waldock, Hugh