Speaker Peter Wesley

Fri 26th October 2018 at 12.55 - 14.00

Topic:- BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra

Rotary club of Stirling meeting of 26/10/2018.


President Sandy Farquharson welcomed members and our speaker Peter Wesley to our Friday meeting.  Sandy reminded us that as we are now collecting for charity in the Thistle Centre on Friday 21st December there will be no meeting at the Golden Lion on that date, and again no meeting on 28th December, resuming on 4th January 2019.

Our speaker Peter Wesley is a professional musician, currently principal Contrabassoon with the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra. He qualified at the Royal Academy of Music in London, subsequently playing with English orchestras, and then in 2007 came North to play with the Scottish Philharmonic and currently the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra. As well as orchestral music Peter has played in West End shows, early music and on over 300 CD recordings. To the non-musician the job may seem romantic and idyllic, but the reality is different.  The hours are long and unsocial, and the discipline of constant learning and keeping up standards is quite arduous. Over the years he has toured many parts of the world, each country producing its own problems, and at times dangers. On an early trip to South America several members of the orchestra were robbed at gunpoint. A trip to Morocco sounded promising as they were to travel on the king's private plane, but it turned out not to be particularly luxurious in addition frequent buffet meals resulted in 90% of the players being struck down with gastrointestinal disorders. Peter thought he had escaped but it got him a week later on his wedding day.  Trips to the USA are busy, 24 concerts in a variety of cities involving a lot of traveling all in a month.  Playing at the St Magnus festival in Orkney under Peter Maxwell Davis was memorable.  Post-concert there is a lot of socialising , but it is important to be up sharp the next morning to catch the next flight, and from time to time players have been left behind.  To illustrate the increasing financial pressures on orchestras, Peter showed us a series of luggage tags, 20 years ago leather, but now a brown label with your name stuck on it.

Next week's meeting is a fellowship meeting. Visitor's host Alan Prentice.

Ian Richardson

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