A concert by the Glenn Miller orchestra will take place on February 22, 2020 at the house of Music in Moscow. It will be a real feast for all fans of swing music. They will enjoy with world-famous compositions of the epoque of Louis Armstrong, Frank Sinatra, and Ella Fitzgerald, including “Moonlight Serenade”, “The Amegicap Patrol”,” Chattanooga Choo Choo”, “In the Mood”, and “Pennsylvania 6-5000.”
At the conductor’s desk will be the permanent head of the group – the Dutch conductor Wil Salden, who is celebrating this year a double anniversary – his own 70th anniversary and the 35th anniversary of the famous orchestra. Before the performance the cultural-political magazine “E-Vesti” was fortunate to learn from Wil Salden what he thinks about performances in general and in Russia in particular, as well as some details of the inner life of Glenn Miller orchestra that will be interesting to the vast army of his fans.
EV: Your glorified orchestra is no longer for the first time in Russia. On the contrary, performances in our country take place with regularity. Tell me, please, how did Russia deserve such attention from jazz masters? With it´s large size or listeners?
Wil Salden: Well, sometimes life gives you an opportunity you can not pass. We were very fortunate to get the change to play in Russia. Luckily for us people liked it, and they kept asking us back. It is more the other way around. I sometimes ask myself what did we do to deserve to play in Russia! We love playing in Russia. The venue’s are great and the people are very passionate about our music.
EV: Is the slogan “something old, something new, something borrowed and something blue” acceptable to your Russian performances? How new will you please your Russian fans, whether there will be something optimistic?
Wil Salden: I think the nature of swing music and Glenn Miller music in particular is very uplifting. We like to bring joy and entertainment everywhere we play. It’s the main goal of the swing music. You should leave the concert hall after the show feeling cheered up and inspired.
EV: Wil Salden ‘s anniversary and decades of his leadership imply reflections on the past and future. What is the role of this titanium in the collective, what had he brought new to the life of the orchestra and on what was the basis of all these years of success?
Wil Salden: Well, a lot of musicians are playing for years with the band, and we are still playing shows in 2020. So I must have done something good in all those years! But seriously I think the passion for the music and the love for giving concerts has kept me going and is the basis for our success. Life on the road can be hard, with all the traveling. You have to really love what you do, to keep going.
EV: What is the main geography of the Orchestra ‘s performances and who is its main listener today?
Wil Salden: In 35 years we have played in a lot of countries in Europe. It is hard to say were we play the most. We play a lot in Germany, Austria, Italy, Poland and of course Russia.
It is even harder to define the people who come to see us. I like to think that everybody that comes to see us has got good taste!
EV: Tell me, please, to what extent the first/original musicians are preserved in the orchestra and how do you update them (it may not be easy to find musicians of this level today, and also who are in love with the music from 1920s-1930s)?
Wil Salden: Everybody’s that plays with us has a passion for swing music. I am the only who has been there from the beginning, but there are musicians who have been playing with the band for years. Some musicians of our orchestra also teach at music conservatoria, that helps us with finding new musical talent.