Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : January 11th 2015 Contents B6
Sunday Guardian www.guardian.co.tt January 11, 2015
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I may be adding back soon director-
ship of the National Sinfonia Orchestra
and the musical direction of Must Come
See Productions. The secret is to rigidly
schedule my activities and to be dis-
ciplined in the approach to planning
and execution of the priorities of each
activity. My work at the UWI is primary
but the bulk of the teaching is seasonal
during the academic year. The admin-
istrative work is continuous (and some-
times onerous) but rewarding when
one views the outcomes. I have to
always make sure that the work of the
NSSO is balanced with other matters
and so far, I have been successful except
for the odd clash. When the clashes
come I make the best decision at the
Your future plans?
All of my future plans revolve around
upgrading the visibility of the ensembles
which I direct and those of my current
and past students. This is not meant
to be serving, however, but to increase
the viability of the groups as future
professional groups which will provide
meaningful and sustainable employ-
ment as part of a larger arts industry.
I have been successful in establishing
myself within the arts industry (with
lots of assistance from many persons).
It is my mission to assist as many per-
sons as possible to do the same and to
join (even influence) larger national
conversations about the establishment
of a viable arts experience past the
What do you see for the future of
the steelband movement? Any sug-
The steelband movement has to
move out of its constant preoccupation
with Panorama and to embrace the
many other issues involving its sus-
tainability. Failure to do so will allow
the fast growing sectors outside of
Trinidad to overtake us. I could go on
in detail about suggestions, however
the main suggestion is that the move-
ment has to be open to bold decisions
and risk-taking in many areas not lim-
ited to diversification of repertoire, lit-
eracy, and the critical areas of instru-
ment research, innovation and
What inspires you to do what you
do, and what motivates you to put
forth your greatest efforts?
I am driven to succeed at what I do.
Also, I am pressured (in the best way
possible) by the faith of those who trust
me to lead them in the various ensem-
bles that I direct.
What makes for a really good job
There are a number of factors. One
has to be a teacher cum psychologist
to convince others of one s musical
intent; this has to be done without with
firmness and humour but no tantrums.
Also, one has also has to be a strong
musician who researches repertoire and
possesses a knack for combining reper-
toire to unified programmes. Finally,
on the podium it helps to have strong
technique with a certain shrewd type
of showmanship that does not over-
shadow the efforts of the ensemble.
What s the most unexpected thing
that has ever happened to you while
Hmmm. Perhaps, when my cum-
merbund slipped off as I stepped on
to the podium in Massachusetts! I have
always checked it since then. The only
other time was when I was conducting
a pit orchestra for a musical and the
technicians turned off all of the lights
but the orchestra managed to keep
Of all your performances/produc-
tions which would you like a first-
time viewer to experience?
That is a difficult one but certainly,
the one that remains in memory is
when the National Steel Symphony
Orchestra performed in 2013 in Mar-
tinique. The NSSO played gloriously
and the reaction of the audience is one
that we all shall never forget.
What major challenges have you
faced as an artistic director/conduc-
With Must Come See Productions
the major challenge has always been
about finance to keep the institution
on sound footing. This financial chal-
lenge is also not limited to them but
as well the chorale and the steel. With
the NSSO, the major challenges have
been artistic and administrative. One
must constantly be commissioning
repertoire for the NSSO since there is
not a body of literature on which one
can draw. Also, that ensemble is draw-
ing nearer to a permanent mandate but
it has taken quite a while.
What is your greatest fear?
The non-completion of my work and
passing it on to persons to take it for-
Who was your hero growing up (fic-
tional or real or both) and why? And
who do you admire most today?
I greatly admired my late mother
and strangely enough, the admittedly
romanticised character of the Godfa-
ther Vito Coreleone. Strangely enough,
both of them believed in taking care of
family and community, success against
the odds, and reasoning with persons
past the point of patience. I am a huge
fan of the former president Bill Clinton
who persevered in public despite per-
What daily motto/credo do you live
by...your recipe for success?
believe that after a century that the
next innings starts at zero.
Describe yourself in two words,
one beginning with J, the other
with M, the initials of your name.
Judicious and musical.
UWI Arts Chorale,
Must Come See rake in
awards under Murray
The steelband movement has to move out of its constant
preoccupation with Panorama and to embrace the many other
issues involving its sustainability. Failure to do so will allow the
fast growing sectors outside of Trinidad to overtake us.
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