The Glenn Miller Orchestraís head on the bandís concept.
WIL, YOU ARE THE GLENN MILLER ORCHESTRAíS HEAD AND CONDUCTOR. HOW DOES ONE BECOME THIS?
By accepting challenges, simply looking for good musicians, by always being prepared and by collecting everything one needs. This implies: it is not exactly easy and it does not happen from one day to another. I started off in early years to play live in bands and I greatly enjoyed it. And at some point I caught the big band-virus. Before I had studied music, piano and accordion with the aim of becoming a music teacher in Holland, where I am from. But then it came differently.
First I played the piano in a big band, but soon I founded my own orchestra. At the time I already studied Glenn Miller and his music and I became immediately fascinated. Later Glenn Miller Productions asked my band and me to represent the Glenn Miller Orchestra in Europe and parts of Asia. Finally we were booked as the Glenn Miller Orchestra in these parts of the world. The orchestra had continued to exist after the musicianís death. And already during his lifetime the economical aspect of the orchestra had been most professional. And since the music continues to be listened to and loved, the Glenn Miller Foundation reorganised and divided the enterprise. While one orchestra performs live in the USA another tours the Far East. We are the Glenn Miller Orchestra in Europe and parts of Asia. This division makes sense: a single orchestra would not be capable of satisfying the immense demand for live-performances.
FROM YOUR POINT OF VIEW, WHAT MAKES THE GLENN MILLER ORCHESTRA SPECIAL?
Well, I think this is a crucial point: we are not a dance band, but a concert orchestra. We are performing on stage in famous venues in Frankfurt, Munich, Tel Aviv and Moscow. And our fans are listening very carefully. Musical quality and the authenticity of our interpretations are very important. We are playing music on a very high technical level and we are improving all the time.
HOW WOULD YOU DESCRIBE YOUR MUSICIANS?
As I said, technically and musically they are simply very good. However, in our orchestra being a good musician does not suffice. You have to be truly professional.
WHAT DO YOU MEAN BY THIS?
A tour like the one we are on this year again is very exhausting and unnerving. We are performing up to 130 times per year and are permanently on the road in Europe, parts of Asia and the Middle East: by bus, train, plane, staying at hotels. Last year we sometimes slept on the plane between concerts. This means that the musicians have to be real pros giving their everything on stage, but also coping with the trials of a tour; it is important they will not be at each otherís throats in stressful situations, which are inevitable. In short: We are doing a really demanding job.
NOW WE HAVE LEARNED A COUPLE OF THINGS ABOUT THE BAND AND THE MUSICIANS. WHAT ABOUT THE AUDIENCE; HOW WOULD YOU DESCRIBE THEM?
First of all: we have fans of all ages. This varies from country to country. In Germany and Holland the audience is a little older, in Russia and Israel the audience is roughly a generation younger.
DO YOU HAVE AN EXPLANATION FOR THIS?
I think that in Western Europe older fans have experienced Glenn Millerís music during his lifetime. Swing is the tune of their youth, if you like. In other countries there may be some catching up to do: there Glenn Miller and his music represent a lifestyle associated with a zest for life, spontaneity and individuality. Such differences should not make one forget the commonalities: the mood and atmosphere of our concerts is simply fantastic. From our viewpoint as musicians, we are fascinated time and again by how the audience reacts to the music and responds to the emotions.