Transcript: The Toronto Youth Wind Orchestra | Dec 22, 2016

Steve sits in the studio. He's slim, clean-shaven, in his fifties, with short curly brown hair. He's wearing a gray suit, white shirt, and striped red and pink tie.

A caption on screen reads "Conducting the youth. @spaikin, @theagenda."

Steve says 25 YEARS AGO, A HIGH
SCHOOL STUDENT NAMED COLIN
CLARKE CREATED A WIND ENSEMBLE
FOR ABOUT 15 YOUNG MUSICIANS,
WHO WERE DETERMINED TO BE
PROFESSIONALS.
25 YEARS LATER, COLIN CLARKE IS
STILL THE SOUL AND INSPIRATION
OF WHAT'S COME TO BE KNOWN AS
THE TORONTO YOUTH WIND
ORCHESTRA, AND THAT ORIGINAL
GROUP OF 15 MUSICIANS HAS GROWN
TO 1500 WHO HAVE PASSED THROUGH
THE ORGANIZATION.
AND WE'RE DELIGHTED TO WELCOME
COLIN CLARKE TO TVO TO TELL US
THE STORY OF THIS WONDERFUL JOURNEY.

Colin is in his early forties, with long black dreadlocks and a trimmed beard. He's wearing a striped black shirt.

Steve continues GREAT TO HAVE YOU HERE.

Colin says THANKS FOR
HAVING ME, STEVE.

Steve says LET'S GO BACK.
BRAMPTON, ONTARIO, 1991.
YOU'RE IN HIGH SCHOOL.
YOU'RE THINKING I WANT TO PUT A
GROUP OF MUSICIANS TOGETHER.
WHAT WERE YOU THINKING?

The caption changes to "Colin Clarke. Toronto Youth Wind Orchestra."
Then, it changes again to "From humble beginnings."

Colin says IT WAS CRAZY,
ACTUALLY.
I PLAYED WITH THE TORONTO
SYMPHONY YOUTH ORCHESTRA SEVERAL
YEARS AGO AND IT WAS A WONDERFUL
EXPERIENCE.
I THOUGHT WOULDN'T IT BE GREAT
TO HAVE AN EXPERIENCE LIKE THAT
FOR A WIND ENSEMBLE.
IN BRAMPTON, WHERE I GREW UP, WE
HAD AN HONOUR BAND.
A LOT OF MY FRIENDS WERE A PART
OF THAT.
BECAUSE OF FUNDING CUTS THEY HAD
TO REMOVE THAT FROM THE PROGRAM.
COMBINED WITH MY ENTHUSIASM FOR
THE TORONTO YOUTH SYMPHONY
ORCHESTRA, I THOUGHT WOULDN'T IT
BE GREAT TO HAVE A WIND ENSEMBLE
AVAILABLE TO YOUNG PEOPLE.
THAT'S WHERE THE INSPIRATION
CAME FROM AND I STARTED WORKING
ON IT.

Steve says WHAT WERE YOUR HOPES
FOR IT, ULTIMATELY?

Colin says ACTUALLY,
WHEN I BEGAN, I WANTED TO PLAY
PERCUSSION.
I DIDN'T WANT TO CONDUCT.

Steve says THAT'S WHERE YOU
STARTED?

Colin says THAT'S WHERE
I STARTED.
MY HOPE WAS TO PICK A PARTICULAR
PIECE AND PLAY MY SOLO IN THAT
PART.
I WORKED WITH BRAMWELL SMITH II,
A VERY POPULAR TRUMPET PLAYER,
WORLD RENOWNED TRUMPET PLAYER,
PLAYED WITH THE UNITED STATES
ARMY AIR FORCE BAND, AND THIS IS
THE ENSEMBLE PERFORMANCE FOR THE
PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES.
THIS WAS A GENTLEMAN WORLD
RENOWNED, HE WAS TEACHING AT
YORK UNIVERSITY AT THE TIME, AND
I ASKED HIM TO BE THE CONDUCTOR
OF THE ORIGINAL GROUP.
AND DELIGHTED.
HE SAID HE'D BE HAPPY TO DO
THAT.
HE WAS THE CONDUCTOR OF THE
HONOUR BAND I WAS WITH.

Steve says DID YOU WANT THIS
GROUP TO BE ULTIMATELY
PROFESSIONAL, PROFESSIONAL
ORCHESTRA?

Colin says I JUST
ENJOYED A PLACE TO PLAY AND
HAVING FUN WITH FRIENDS OF MINE
WHO ALSO ENJOYED HAVING A PLACE
TO PLAY.

Steve says HOW DID YOU GROW IT
OVER THE YEARS?

Colin says OOH.
I HAD A LOT OF HELP FROM A FEW
FRIENDS.
WITH MY ENTHUSIASM AND WITH THE
UNBRIDLED ENTHUSIASM WITH THOSE
I WORKED WITH OVER THE YEARS,
THEY ENJOYED HAVING AN ENSEMBLE
TO HAVE FUN WITH, MAKE MUSIC IN,
AND CONTINUE DOING WHAT THEY
WERE DOING ABOVE AND BEYOND WHAT
THEY WERE DOING SAY IN HIGH
SCHOOL IN THE REGULAR PROGRAM.

Steve says I DON'T THINK YOU GO
FROM 15 TO 1500 WITHOUT SOME
KIND OF HUGE MASTER PLAN.
WAS THERE ONE?

Colin says THERE WAS
NEVER A MASTER PLAN.
THERE WAS ACTUALLY A THREE-YEAR
PLAN.
MY FRIEND CAN TELL YOU THIS
STORY.
I PUT TOGETHER A 3-YEAR PLAN.
I'M GOING TO TRY THIS 3 YEARS.
IF IT WORKS OUT, GREAT.
IF IT DOESN'T, FINE.
THE GOAL WAS TO PLAY A COUPLE OF
PIECES WE ALL LOVED WITH THE
HOPES WE COULD GO TO THE NORTH
YORK PERFORMING ARTS CENTRE AND
DO A CONCERT THERE.
IF WE COULD DO THAT IN THREE
YEARS, THAT WAS GREAT.
WE ACTUALLY MANAGED TO DO THAT
IN TWO YEARS.
WE THOUGHT THIS IS FUN.
LET'S KEEP GOING.
WE COULD DO MORE WITH THIS.
I'VE BEEN WORKING ON A 3-YEAR
PLAN FOR THE PAST 25 YEARS.

Steve says HOW OLD ARE THOSE
THAT PLAY IN THE ENSEMBLE?

Colin says THERE'S
CONCERT WIND, WHICH IS FOR
BEGINNER PLAYERS, AN
INTERMEDIATE ENSEMBLE, CALLED
SYMPHONIC WINDS AND THEY WERE
PRETTY MUCH HIGH SCHOOL
STUDENTS, AND THE NEXT IS HIGH
SCHOOL-POSTSECONDARY.

Steve says DID YOU EVER WORRY
OVER THE YEARS THERE WOULDN'T BE
ENOUGH INTEREST FROM YOUNG
PEOPLE WHO WOULD WANT TO PLAY
CLASSICAL MUSIC?

Colin says I WORRY EVERY
YEAR ABOUT THAT.
OH, YEAH.
EVERY SEPTEMBER, FOR WHATEVER
REASON, I GET CONCERNED ABOUT
WHETHER OR NOT WE'LL HAVE
MUSICIANS TO AUDITION.
AND EVERY SEPTEMBER FOR THE PAST
25 SEPTEMBERS THERE'S ALWAYS A
GOOD BRUSH OF PEOPLE WHO WANT TO
COME IN AND PLAY.
IT'S A WORRY OF MINE THAT I
HAVE, BUT OVERALL, THERE HAS
BEEN CONCERNS OVER THE YEARS --
OF COURSE, WITH ANYTHING ELSE,
CHANGING CLIMATES AND THE
EDUCATION SYSTEM BEING WHAT IT
IS, YOU NEVER KNOW WHAT'S GOING
TO HAPPEN.
SO WE'VE BEEN LUCKY TO HAVE A
CORE GROUP OF MUSICIANS WHO HAVE
ALWAYS WANTED TO COME AND
SUPPLEMENT THEIR OWN EXPERIENCES
AT HIGH SCHOOL OR UNIVERSITY.

Steve says THEY ALL HAVE THEIR
iPODS ON AND LISTENING TO
10,000 DIFFERENT RAP, HIP-HOP,
ROCK 'N' ROLL, WHATEVER THE NEW
THING IS, DO THEY LISTEN TO
CLASSICAL MUSIC?

Colin says YOU'D BE
SURPRISED.
WHEN I WAS IN HIGH SCHOOL, I WAS
THE KID... ALTHOUGH I WAS
LISTENING TO HIP-HOP AND REGGAE
AND MICHAEL JACKSON, I WAS
LISTENING TO CLASSICAL MUSIC.
MY FRIENDS WOULD MOCK ME.
WHO LISTENS TO BEETHOVEN AND
TCHAIKOVSKY, COOL J, WHATEVER IT
IS.
I CONSIDERED MYSELF A LONER IN
HIGH SCHOOL.

Steve says HOW DID YOU GET INTO IT?

Colin says MY HIGH
SCHOOL CONCERT PROGRAM.
I WENT TO SCHOOL IN BRAMPTON,
AND WE WERE BLESSED WITH A
FANTASTIC MUSIC PROGRAM AND IT
WAS PROBABLY ONE OF THE
STRONGEST PROGRAMS IN THE AREA
AND WE HAD A NUMBER OF DIFFERENT
ENSEMBLES, JAZZ ENSEMBLE,
CONCERT BANDS, CHOIRS, AND I
FOUND MY LOVE FOR MUSIC IN THAT
ENVIRONMENT.
BUT AT THE SAME TIME, YOU KNOW,
MY FRIENDS, MY BEST FRIENDS,
WERE INTO BREAK DANCING AND INTO
HIP-HOP AND WHATNOT.
SO THERE WAS A BIT OF A DUALITY
HAPPENING FOR ME IN SCHOOL.
BUT TO ANSWER YOUR QUESTION NOW,
I'M SURPRISED TO HAVE THE NUMBER
OF MUSICIANS CURRENTLY WHO WERE
LIKE ME WHO LISTENED TO A
BREADTH OF MUSICAL GENRES WHO
HAVE ON THEIR iPODS SEVERAL
UNIVERSITY AND PROFESSIONAL
CONCERT BANDS OR SYMPHONY
ORCHESTRAS AND A LIBRARY OF
REPERTOIRE THAT'S ABOVE AND
BEYOND WHAT THE KIDS LISTEN TO
TODAY.

Steve says AND WHAT PERCENTAGE
OF THE STUDENTS WHO GO THROUGH
YOUR PROGRAM DO YOU THINK ARE
THERE BECAUSE THEY LOVE MUSIC
AND WANT TO HAVE A GOOD TIME AND
THEY WANT TO HAVE A PLACE TO
PLAY VERSUS THOSE WHO WANT TO
MAKE MUSIC THEIR LIFE, THEIR
CAREER, THEIR LIVING?

The caption changes to "Colin Clarke, @tywomusic."

Colin says WE HAVE A
GOOD BALANCE OF BOTH.
IT'S HARD TO PUT A STATISTIC ON
THAT, BUT I CAN TELL YOU THAT
MANY MUSICIANS USE THE WIND
ORCHESTRA AS AN OPPORTUNITY TO
PLATFORM THEMSELVES INTO
POSTSECONDARY EDUCATION.
SO THEY SPEND A FEW YEARS WITH
THE WIND ORCHESTRA TO GET THE
ATTENTION OF POSTSECONDARY
INSTITUTIONS, WESTERN, U OF T,
WHATEVER UNIVERSITY, AND THERE'S
A STREAM OF MUSICIANS WHO WANT
TO BECOME PROFESSIONALS OR
PROFESSIONAL EDUCATORS OR
SOMETHING IN THE REALM OF MUSIC.
THERE'S ANOTHER GROUP OF
MUSICIANS WHO ARE JUST AS
IMPORTANT TO US WHO KNOW THEY
WANT TO BECOME CHEMISTS OR
LAWYERS OR DOCTORS BUT THEY
STILL HAVE THE PASSION FOR
MUSIC-MAKING.
THEY COME TO THE ENSEMBLE TO
HAVE AN OPPORTUNITY TO PLAY
MUSIC AND WE WELCOME EVERYONE.
IT'S WONDERFUL.

The caption changes to "Connect with us: @theagenda, TVO.org, YouTube, Facebook, Instagram."

Steve says DO YOU WANT TO KNOW
WHAT THE KIDS THINK OF ME?
DO YOU WANT TO KNOW?
I'M GOING TO TELL YOU.

Colin says OKAY.

Steve says STAND BY, COLIN.
COME ON, SHELDON, LET'S PLAY THIS.

A clip plays on screen in which different young people talk.

A teenager with short blond hair says COLIN IS SUCH A FUNNY GUY.
HE MAKES ME LAUGH EVERY TIME IN
THE ORCHESTRA.

A girl with black hair in a bob says THAT'S THE GREAT THING ABOUT
HIM.
HE SEES THE POTENTIAL IN EVERY
STUDENT.

A boy with wavy brown hair says HE MADE SURE TO PUSH ME TO MY
LIMITS.
COLIN IS SO WARM, WONDERFUL,
FRIENDLY, HE CREATES SUCH A
GREAT ENVIRONMENT FOR EVERYONE.

A quick clip shows Colin directing.

A girl with long curly blond hair says IT'S ALWAYS BEEN A REALLY
POSITIVE, WARM, WELCOMING
ENVIRONMENT, AND I'M SO HAPPY
THAT I'VE BEEN A PART OF IT FOR
5 YEARS NOW.

A boy with short curly brown hair says BY FAR IT'S THE HIGHLIGHT OF
MY MUSICAL WEEK.
IT'S LOTS OF FUN, LOTS OF
LAUGHS, LOTS OF STORY.

A clip shows him playing a trumpet.

Then, the boy with blond hair says IT'S ALWAYS LIKE THE BEST 3
HOURS OF MY SUNDAY.

The girl with black hair in a bob says IT'S BEEN AN AMAZING
EXPERIENCE AND I CAN SAY IT IS
MY HOME AWAY FROM HOME.

The boy with curly brown hair says IT'S SO MUCH FUN AND I LOVE TIYO.

A clip shows Colin directing as a youth band plays classical music.

(Music)
[LAUGHTER]

The clip ends.

The caption changes to "To the highest heights."

Steve says THAT IS AWESOME.

Colin says THAT IS
AWESOME.

Steve says THAT IS AWESOME.

Colin says THANK YOU.

Steve says YOU GUYS PLAYED
CARNEGIE HALL.

Colin says WE DID.

Steve says YOU KNOW THE OLD
JOKE, HOW DO YOU GET TO CARNEGIE
HALL?
PRACTICE, PRACTICE.
HOW DID YOU GET TO CARNEGIE
HALL?

Colin says THAT'S A FUN
STORY.
WE APPLIED TO PLAY AT CARNEGIE
HALL SEVERAL YEARS AGO.
WE TOOK A NUMBER OF STEPS TO GET
THERE.
WE SENT IN AUDITION TAPES AND I
WAS INTERVIEWED A COUPLE OF
TIMES.
THEY SAID WE'D LIKE TO HAVE YOUR
ENSEMBLE WITH US ON STAGE.
THIS WAS IN 2005.
WE MOUNTED A CAMPAIGN TO GET THE
ENSEMBLE TO NEW YORK TO PLAY AT
CARNEGIE HALL AND IT WAS ONE OF
THE MOST EXHILARATING
LIFE-CHANGING EXPERIENCES WE'VE
EVER HAD.

Steve says HOW SO?

Colin says FIRST OF ALL,
CARNEGIE HALL, THERE'S SOMETHING
JUST UNIVERSAL ABOUT CARNEGIE
HALL.
IT'S A PLACE WHERE... THE
BEATLES WERE THERE, TCHAIKOVSKY
WAS THERE, SO MANY I WILL
LUMINARIES TAKING THAT STAGE.
TO BE ON THE STAGE WAS
MOTIVATION IN AND OF ITSELF.
WHEN WE GOT THERE, WE HAD A
DRESS REHEARSAL ON STAGE AND WE
WERE SOAKING IN THE MOMENT.
BUT AS I DROPPED MY BATON AND
BEGAN TO CONDUCT, THE ENSEMBLE
SOUNDED TERRIBLE.
THEY WERE JUST ATROCIOUS.
PEOPLE BEGAN TO BURST INTO TEARS
BECAUSE THEY COULD HEAR
THEMSELVES AND THEY WERE NOT IN
TUNE OR TIME AND THEY WERE ALL
KIND OF WORKED UP BECAUSE THEY
WERE TAKING IN THE MOMENT AND
THEY WERE AT CARNEGIE HALL.
SO THERE WERE SOME KIDS WHO LEFT
THE STAGE AND IN TEARS.
ONE GIRL ON HER CELL PHONE SAID,
MOM, DON'T COME.
WE SOUND HORRIBLE.
DON'T COME.
SO I HAD A PIECE OF PAPER AND IT
READ "BREATHE."
AND THEY ALL JUST, AH, BREATHED.
THE LAST THING I REMEMBER WAS
TURNING AROUND AND BOWING TO THE
AUDIENCE.
I DON'T REMEMBER MOST OF THE
PERFORMANCE AT ALL.
IT WAS SUCH A GLORIOUS OCCASION
FOR US.
WHEN WE WALKED OFF STAGE AFTER
THE PERFORMANCE, THE ENSEMBLE
BURST INTO A RAUCOUS VERSION OF
O CANADA, SINGING AT THE TOP OF
THEIR LUNGS.
THEY HAD TO CALM US DOWN, WE
WERE SO ENTHUSIASTIC WE WERE
DISTURBING THE CONCERT NEXT
DOOR.

Steve says THIS HAPPENED
SPONTANEOUSLY.

Colin says IT BEGAN A THING.
IT WAS AN EXHILARATING
PERFORMANCE FOR US BACK THEN.
WE CHOSE TO REPEAT THAT
PERFORMANCE AGAIN IN 2011 AND
ONE MORE TIME IN 2016.

Steve says IT SOUNDS TO ME
YOU'RE NOT LIKE J.K. SIMMONS IN
THAT MOVIE "WHIPLASH."

Colin says NO.

Steve says YOU'RE NOT A
PRIORITY UP THERE WITH THE KIDS?

Colin says SOME MIGHT
SAY I AM.
I'M NOT THE WHIPLASH GUY.
THAT'S A STRANGE MOVIE.
MY PHILOSOPHY, THERE'S THE
TOSCANINI ORCHESTRA.
HE TOOK THE STATUS OF BEING I AM
THE CONDUCTOR, YOU ARE THE
MUSICIANS, YOU WILL DO WHAT I
TELL YOU.
THAT'S THE HIERARCHY HERE.
HE HAD NO QUALMS ABOUT YELLING
AND BEING INSISTENT AND BEING IN
SOME CASES RUDE OR BELITTLING,
AND I DON'T BELIEVE THAT'S THE
BEST WAY TO GET THE MOST OUT OF
PEOPLE.
IT CAN WORK FOR SOME PEOPLE, BUT
IN MY EXPERIENCE, IT'S A
COLLABORATION.
SO MY ROLE IS THE CONDUCTOR.
IT'S NOT EGO.
IT'S MY JOB.
I'M THE CONDUCTOR AND THIS IS
HOW WE DO THINGS.
I WILL FOR INPUT.
I ASK THE MUSICIANS, FOR
EXAMPLE, WHAT DO YOU WANT TO
PLAY?
WHAT REPERTOIRE?
AND THEY GIVE ME LIST UPON LIST.
I PICK MY FAVOURITES AS WELL.
THERE ARE MOMENTS IN REHEARSAL,
HOW DO YOU FEEL ABOUT THAT
PHRASE OR HOW THIS IS GOING?
WE'LL COLLABORATIVELY WORK ON
THE MUSIC TOGETHER BECAUSE IT'S
OUR PRESENTATION, NOT JUST MINE.
I'M NOT A WHIPLASH KIND OF A
GUY.

Steve says YOU'RE NOT A
DICTATOR.

Colin says NO.

Steve says IT'S NOT A DEMOCRACY
EITHER.

Colin says IT'S NOT A
DEMOCRACY EITHER, NO.

Steve says A BENEVOLENT
DICTATORSHIP?

Colin says LET'S GO WITH THAT.

Steve says I WANT YOU TO GO WAY
BACK FOR US WHEN YOU WERE JUST
GETTING ASSOCIATED WITH MUSIC IN
THE FIRST PLACE.
AT SOME POINT YOU'VE GOT TO MAKE
A DECISION, I GUESS, THAT YOU
WANT TO BE THE GUY OUT FRONT
LEADING AS OPPOSED TO ONE OF THE
MANY IN THE ORCHESTRA PLAYING.
DO YOU KNOW WHAT WENT INTO THAT
DECISION?

The caption changes to "Maestro Colin."

Colin says I DO.
I DEVELOPED TENDINITIS IN BOTH
MY ARMS AS A PERCUSSIONIST
STUDYING AT U OF T.
I HAD TO GO TO A DOCTOR.
MY DOCTOR SAID... FUNNY STORY.
I WAS LATE FOR REHEARSAL AT THE
SCHOOL.
I HAD THIS APPOINTMENT.
MY DOCTOR IS AT HIS DESK AND
WRITING AWAY AFTER HAVING
EXAMINED ME.
I SAID, YOU KNOW, SIR, CAN I GET
GOING NOW?
HE SAID DO YOU PLAN TO HAVE A
FAMILY ONE DAY?
STRANGE QUESTION.
I'M LOOKING AT MY CLOCK THE
ENTIRE TIME.
SURE, I HOPE TO HAVE A FAMILY
SOME DAY.
HE SAID DO YOU HOPE TO HAVE
CHILDREN ONE DAY?
AND I'M LIKE 19.
SURE, ONE DAY DOWN THE ROAD,
MAYBE I MAY HAVE CHILDREN.
HE TOOK OFF HIS GLASSES, PUT
DOWN HIS PEN, HE SAID IF YOU
WANT TO HOLD YOUR CHILDREN, PUT
DOWN THE DRUMSTICKS BECAUSE YOUR
ARMS ARE IN SUCH BAD SHAPE,
AFTER YEARS OF PRACTICE, IT WILL
GET WORK.
TENDINITIS, YOU CAN'T CURE.
YOU CAN MANAGE IT, BUT IT'S
SOMETHING THAT NEVER GOES AWAY.
I WAS DEVASTATED.
I THOUGHT ABOUT WHAT I WAS GOING
TO DO WITH MYSELF BY LOOKING AT
OTHER OPTIONS.
THE IDEA OF STARTING AN
ENSEMBLE, I THOUGHT MAYBE I CAN
CONDUCT THE ENSEMBLE?
I HAD TWO STICKS AND PUT DOWN
ONE OF THEM AND KEPT ONE AND
CONDUCTED WITH THAT.
THAT WAS KIND OF THE SHORT
VERSION OF MY BURST ONTO THE
PODIUM, YEAH.

Steve says ISN'T IT FASCINATING
HOW THE ROADS WE TAKE ARE OFTEN
180 degrees FROM WHERE WE WANT TO BE,
BUT IT ACTUALLY WORKS OUT ANYWAY.

Colin says MY ORIGINAL
PLAN WAS TO BE A PROFESSIONAL
PERCUSSIONIST, TO PLAY WITH THE
TORONTO SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA OR
SOME PROFESSIONAL ORCHESTRA, AND
EVER SINCE GRADE 10, THAT WAS MY
ROAD MAP.
BUT TO SAY TO ME IN GRADE 10,
ONE DAY YOU WILL CONDUCT AN
ENSEMBLE ON STAGE AT CARNEGIE
HALL, I WOULD HAVE LAUGHED AT
YOU.

Steve says HAVE YOU HAD ANY KIDS?

Colin says NO.

Steve says STILL WORKING ON THAT?

Colin says STILL WORKING
ON THAT ONE.

Steve says I WANT TO ASK YOU
SOME ODD QUESTIONS HERE JUST
BECAUSE GEMMA NEW WAS IN THAT
CHAIR EARLIER IN THE PROGRAM,
AND SHE IS OF COURSE A
29-YEAR-OLD FEMALE MUSIC
CONDUCTOR WITH THE HAMILTON
PHILHARMONIC ORCHESTRA, WITH
WHOM YOU HAVE ASSOCIATION.
YOU CONDUCT THE YOUTH ORCHESTRA
THERE.

Colin says THAT'S CORRECT.

Steve says GEMMA DOESN'T LOOK
AT THE TYPICAL CONDUCTOR AT THE
FRONT OF THE ORCHESTRA, RIGHT?
SHE IS A YOUNG WOMAN.
YOU DON'T LOOK LIKE THE TYPICAL
MUSIC DIRECTOR AND CONDUCTOR AT
THE FRONT OF AN ORCHESTRA.
YOU ARE A BLACK MAN.
DO YOU TWO EVER TALK ABOUT THAT?
I KNOW YOU KNOW EACH OTHER AND
YOU'RE FRIENDS.
IS THAT THE SUBJECT OF
CONVERSATION EVER FOR YOU TWO?

Colin says I CAN SAY
WITH A CERTAIN DEGREE OF
AUTHORITY THE CONDUCTING WORLD
IS A VERY MALE-DOMINATED AND IF
I MAY SAY SO WHITE DOMINATED.

Steve says TOTALLY.
THAT'S WHY I ASKED THE QUESTION.

Colin says TOTALLY.
I CAN SUPPLEMENT THAT WITH A
STORY.
MY FIRST PERFORMANCE WITH THE
WIND ORCHESTRA SEVERAL YEARS
AGO, WE TOLD ALL THE MUSICIANS
IN THE ENSEMBLE TO GO OUT AND
GET FRIENDS AND COME TO THE
CONCERT AND INVITE MOM OR DAD TO
COME OUT.
ONE FLUTE PLAYER DID THAT.
SHE BRINGS HER PARENTS TO THE
CONCERT AND YOU CAN IMAGINE IT'S
THE FIRST CONCERT... THERE'S A
HUSH IN THE CROWD, THE LIGHTS
COME DOWN, AND THIS 21-YEAR-OLD
WALKS ACROSS THE STAGE AND
CONDUCTS THIS LARGE ENSEMBLE.
BECAUSE OF MY NAME, THE PARENTS
DIDN'T REALIZE I WAS BLACK,
COLIN CLARKE IS A VERY BRITISH
NAME, I SUPPOSE.
WHEN THE PARENTS SAW ME, THEY
WERE OFFENDED.

Steve says OFFENDED?

Colin says OFFENDED.
WHEN THEIR DAUGHTER CAME OFF THE
STAGE, YOU'RE NOT ALLOWED TO
PLAY IN THE ENSEMBLE EVER AGAIN.
THAT'S THE LAST I SAW OF THIS
WOMAN.
I MAINTAINED CONTACT WITH HER
OVER THE YEARS AND WE'RE FRIENDS
ON Facebook.
THAT WAS MY FIRST EXPERIENCE
WITH THAT KIND OF NEGATIVE
ASSOCIATION WITH A BLACK MAN
CONDUCTING A LARGE ENSEMBLE AND
HISTORY WILL SHOW THERE ARE NOT
A LOT OF PEOPLE OF COLOUR OR
PEOPLE... WOMEN WHO ARE THE
CHIEFS OF MAJOR SYMPHONY
ORCHESTRAS.
NOW, THE GOOD NEWS IS THAT THAT
LANDSCAPE IS CHANGING, WHICH IS
WONDERFUL.
AND WHEN I WAS MET WITH THIS
PROBLEM BACK IN THE EARLY
'90s, I DECIDED MY GOAL WAS TO
GET OUT THERE MORE.
IF PEOPLE HAVE AN ASSOCIATION
THAT A CONDUCTOR IS A WHITE
GRAY-HAIRED TYRANT DICTATOR,
IT'S MY JOB TO GET OUT THERE
EVEN MORE.
IT'S GEMMA'S JOB TO GET OUT
THERE EVEN MORE AND CHANGE THE
CLIMATE OF WHAT WE ASSOCIATE TO
BE CONDUCTORS.
THAT'S WHAT I DID AND I DON'T
APOLOGIZE FOR BEING WHO I AM.
IN FACT I THINK I BRING A LOT TO
AN ORCHESTRAL OR PHILHARMONIC
SETTING, GEMMA DOES THE SAME.
IT'S AN EXCITING WAY TO MAKE
MUSIC.

Steve says I'M TRYING TO GET
INSIDE THE HEAD OF SOMEBODY WHO,
NEVER MIND WOULD HAVE A BIT OF A
STARTLED REACTION AT SEEING YOU,
FOR THE REASONS YOU DESCRIBE.

Colin says RIGHT.

Steve says BUT WHO WOULD BE
OFFENDED AT THE NOTION OF A
BLACK MAN LEADING AN ORCHESTRA.
WHY WOULD THAT BE OFFENSIVE TO
SOMEBODY?

Colin says THERE'S A
GREAT BOOK CALLED THE MAESTRO
MYTH.
IN THE BOOK, THE AUTHOR TALKS
ABOUT THE ILLUSION OF POWER AND
HOW CONDUCTORS, IN A GOOD WAY
AND A BAD WAY, SOMETIMES BACK
AND FORTH, HAVE A CERTAIN DEGREE
OF POWER.
SO ON A VERY CURSORY LEVEL, ONE
MIGHT ASSOCIATION SOMEONE ON THE
PODIUM HAVING A CERTAIN DEGREE
OF AUTHORITY AND POWER OVER
OTHERS, AND IF SOMEONE IS
AGAINST A CERTAIN CULTURE OR A
CERTAIN SEX, THEY WOULD SEE THAT
AS A BIT OF A CONTRAST AND
SOMETHING THEY WOULD BE... I
DON'T WANT TO USE THE WORD
OFFENDED BUT IN THIS CASE THEY
WERE QUITE TAKEN ABACK BY THE
FACT THIS BLACK MALE WAS
CONDUCTING THEIR DAUGHTER IN AN
ENSEMBLE WHERE HE WIELDED POWER,
FOR LACK OF A BETTER PHRASE.
I THINK THAT'S WHERE THAT COMES
FROM.
CONDUCTORS HOLD A CERTAIN DEGREE
OF AUTHORITY AND RESPONSIBILITY
WITH THAT AUTHORITY AND SOME
PEOPLE MIGHT NOT TAKE TOO WELL
TO HAVING SOMEONE OF A CERTAIN
RACE OR A CERTAIN COLOUR OR A
CERTAIN GENDER IN THAT KIND OF
POSITION.

Steve says SO HOW DO WE GET TO
A PLACE WHERE THE SIGHT OF A
BLACK MAN WITH A BATON IN HIS
HAND CONDUCTING A 40-PIECE
ORCHESTRA, 50-PIECE ORCHESTRA,
IS NOT NEWS ANYMORE?

Colin says THAT'S A
GREAT QUESTION, AND I THINK THE
ANSWER IS HAPPENING WITH
INTERVIEWS LIKE THIS, WITH
MOMENTS LIKE THIS, WITH GEMMA
COMING ON YOUR SHOW, WITH PEOPLE
SEEING THE NEW GENERATION OF
CONDUCTORS, AND NOTHING AGAINST
THE OLD DAYS, THE GOLDEN DAYS OF
SYMPHONIC CONDUCTORS, BUT TO
PARAPHRASE TRUDEAU, IT'S 2016.
AND THERE ARE MANY PEOPLE OF
DIFFERENT RACE, ETHNICITY AND
GENDER WHO ARE IN GREAT DEMAND
AS MUSICIANS, ORCHESTRAL
CONDUCTORS, AND IT'S WONDERFUL
TO SEE.
SO I THINK THE MORE WE SEE THIS
PLATFORM OUT THERE, THE MORE WE
SEE WHAT'S ON THE LANDSCAPE
MUSICALLY, I THINK THE MORE...
THE IMAGE WILL CHANGE IN TERMS
OF WHAT WE EXPECT FROM OUR
CONDUCTORS.

The caption changes to "Producer: Steve Paikin, @spaikin."

Steve says COLIN, YOU'VE BEEN
OUT THERE 25 YEARS AND I HAVE A
FEELING YOU'VE ONLY JUST BEGUN.

Colin says JUST BEGUN.

Steve says THANKS FOR COMING IN
TO TVO TONIGHT.

Colin says THANKS FOR
HAVING ME.

Steve says COLIN CLARKE,
CONDUCTOR, TORONTO YOUTH WIND
ORCHESTRA, TYWO. THANKS COLIN.

Watch: The Toronto Youth Wind Orchestra