Sunday, May 30, 2010

Interview with Anthony McGill!

On Friday I had the opportunity to interview my favorite clarinetist, Anthony McGill, after the dress rehearsal for his concert with the Chicago Clarinet Ensemble. I went to the dress rehearsal because my teacher, Dileep Gangoli is in the Chicago Clarinet Ensemble. I had a lesson just before the dress rehearsal, and then Dileep took me to the rehearsal. After the dress rehearsal my teacher recorded me interviewing Mr. McGill. It was really fun, but I was terrified. I didn't know how hard it was going to be to interview someone famous.

Because my piano teacher Barbara Rubenstein suggested it, I wrote the questions out ahead of time and practiced them with a glass head with a beret. Mr. McGill was really cool and really nice. And he was very patient with me stumbling over my questions.

Interview with Anthony McGill

Video Transcription

Torin: Hello, I’m Torin. What’s your name?

Anthony McGill: I’m Anthony McGill.

I have some questions for you, Anthony McGill.


Okay, my first question is: I would like to know how you interpret a piece. I have the Weber Concerto on a recording by Martin Frost, Richard Stoltzman, and Sabine Meyer. I like the Martin Frost version the best, because it is less aggressive than the Stoltzman and it has a fuller tone than the Sabine Meyer Do you listen to other recordings before you try to interpret a piece?

Yeah, well, I actually when especially when I was younger used to listen to lots of different recordings, and it gave me an idea of what I would like to sound like and all of the different varieties of playing and phrasing and color that you can get in the clarinet, and so I think it’s actually very important to listen to other players so you can get a concept. Nowadays, I don’t listen to that that many clarinet players, but I admire lots of those people you just named. So, next question?

Is Itzak Perlman as nice as Yoyo Ma? Because my sister performed for Yoyo Ma. (And I should have said, my sister said he was very nice, but I was nervous and forgot).

Yeah, Itzak Perlman is really nice and Yoyo Ma is really nice as well, and they’re both really funny. They’re probably the funniest people I’ve ever met. And they’re also really great musicians, obviously.

Why did you choose clarinet as your instrument? Did you consider anything else? Did anyone influence your choice of the clarinet?

Well, my older brother played the flute, and so I wanted to play a wind instrument, but I wanted to play saxophone, but it was too big for me, so they told me to play the clarinet and switch to the saxophone later, but I never did.

I had the same thing with bassoon. I wanted to play bassoon, but I switched to the clarinet while I was waiting. (What I meant to say was that I was too small to play bassoon, so they told me to start on clarinet, and I’m never switching now because I love clarinet. But I forgot. Interviews are hard.)

Oh really?

What’s your least favorite part about being a clarinetist?

Oooh. Least favorite part about being a clarinetist…it’s hard sometimes , but then again, I guess every instrument is hard. You know, we have to try to find good reeds, and good instruments, and mouthpieces, and all of that stuff, but I really enjoy making music on the clarinet, that’s the really really fun part.

Oh, okay. Are you going to audition for the CSO, because I would like to see you perform some more often?

Oh, great. I have auditioned for the CSO, and I haven’t quite made it, gotten into the orchestra yet, but I, you know, I might keep trying.

That’s all the questions I have for you. Thank you.

Thanks a lot.


This is Sven. He is very helpful when preparing an interview.


  1. Hi Torin,

    Thanks so much for coming to the concert and for interviewing Mr. McGill. It was a real treat to finally meet you. Keep up the great work.


  2. Torin, It must have been a real honor to be able to interview Mr. McGill! He seemed really cool, and I could tell that you became more relaxed as the interview went on. Grandpa and I are so proud of you!
    Your blog is fantastic, and I love the fact that you are taking your soccer injury in stride and using the time to practice and play the clarinet. All my love, Grammy