Gerard McChrystal - Irish Saxophone Soloist - 10

by Barry Cockcroft | The Barry Sax Show

About Gerard McChrystal

Gerard McChrystal comes from Derry, Northern Ireland. He studied at the Royal Northern College of Music, Manchester and later at The Guildhall School, London and with Frederick Hemke at Northwestern University in Chicago.

Gerard has performed in over 35 countries, recorded numerous albums and has worked with orchestras including Philharmonia, BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra, BBC Concert Orchestra, National Symphony of Ireland, Stuttgart Staatsorchester and the Orchestra of San Francisco Ballet.

Gerard was artistic director of the British Saxophone Congress in London and he has served as an adjudicator at the 5th Adolphe Sax International Saxophone Competition in Dinant, Belgium.

Gerard is Professor of Saxophone at Trinity Laban Conservatoire, London.

I initially got to know Gerard through him performing my compositions. I was immediately captured by his immense enthusiasm and at last count he has given over 100 performances of my piece Ku Ku. Sneaking in with a dual citizenship, I was fortunate to be invited by Gerard to perform at the British Saxophone Congress when he was artistic director. When we can, we try to catch up for a drink and as you will hear in this interview, he is full of life and loves a laugh. My pieces, Melbourne Sonata and Melbourne Concerto are both dedicated to Gerard.

Show Notes

  • A lot of my career was an accident.
  • I was a really serious clarinet player but I was always number two.
  • I loved to play along with my dad’s record player, especially Baker Street.
  • Working with John Harle at the Guildhall School of Music.
  • Studying with Frederick Hemke at Northwestern University.
  • It was tough growing up in Derry, Northern Ireland.
  • I thought I knew everything and I knew virtually nothing.
  • My life has been a beautiful zig-zag.
  • I wish what I knew then what I know now.
  • To practise you have to get rid of your ego.
  • I learn things under tempo and let adrenaline take me over the line.
  • You must a program a piece in a concert for a reason.
  • I like pieces that are virtually impossible to play, I like the challenge.
  • I have played Ku Ku over 100 times, it is a real party piece.
  • The first performance of a piece is just an introduction.
  • Make sure that you play pieces that you really know.
  • We are running a program with 50% male and 50% female composers.
  • I love getting guests in to work with my students.
  • A love of travelling and touring, food, the larger human experiences.
  • John Harle’s contribution to the saxophone in the UK.
  • I like to be antisocial before walking on stage.
  • The great energy of the Apollo Quartet.
  • We are in trouble when we don’t know we are making mistakes.

Show Links

Transcript of Podcast Interview with Gerard McChrystal

Available soon…

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