Violinist / Conductor  Yehudi  Menuhin
A Conversation with Bruce Duffie


Yehudi Menuhin was many things to many people and his legacy is secure in several areas.  He was a child prodigy who supremely fulfilled the promise of his youth, and achieved greatness as a violinist, as a conductor, as a humanitarian.  He was the whole package and yet he was also humble and kind to those around him.  Needless to say, his memory is being honored not only through his achievements, but also through his students and grand-students of several generations. 

A brief summary of the details of his life are in the box following this interview.  There are, of course, recordings and videos dating back to his earliest days, and an official website along with other pages on the web
now including this one!

What you are about to read is a conversation I was privileged to have with Menuhin on one of his trips to Chicago.  In January of 1987, he was conducting the Warsaw Sinfonia on their international tour, and he graciously agreed to spend a few minutes with me at his hotel before the concert at Orchestra Hall.  Kind and gentle, with a noble air and confident being, he made me feel welcome and responded to my inquiries with thought and wisdom. 

It may be a bit surprising to see what we did and did not talk about, but here is that conversation . . . . .

Bruce Duffie:  It
s very gracious of you to see me in the midst of a hectic tour.

Yehudi Menuhin:  Not at all.  A schedule imposes its own kind of routine.  I like to reach the next place before lunch
before 12:00 if possiblewhich means that we start anywhere between six and seven in the morning.

BD:  [A bit surprised]  After a concert the night before?

YM:  Yes, but I don
t go out after the concert.  Then I sleep in the afternoon!  Its the only way to keep going.  Otherwise, you see, Id arrive at three or four in the afternoon and have no time to catch my breath before leaving for rehearsal at six.

BD:  When yo
ure on tour with an orchestra, as you are now with the Warsaw Sinfonia, will you rehearse in every different hall?

YM:  Oh, yes.  Yes.  They
re a fantastic orchestra, but to keep everything interesting and fresh theres always some new thing one discovers.  I discover things constantly.  We rehearse, and its like seeing new things in a landscape; it keeps the landscape alive.  Im sure that Cézanne, painting every day the same Mont Sainte-Victoire, saw every time something new.  He wasnt repeating himself.

BD:  Is this what distinguishes a great piece of music, to always find something new?

menuhinYM:  I think so, yes.  And it doesn
t even have to be great; if its really good you can distinguish it.  The excellent Polish piece were playing on this tour of Grażyna Bacewicz (1909-1969) [Concerto for Strings (1948)] is the first big piece on the program.  She died, unfortunately, a few years ago; I met her sister in Warsaw.  But its a thoroughly excellent piece, wonderfully put together; it shows the string orchestra off brilliantly and brings the soloists out in an interesting way simply from its texture and structure.  We touch it up every few days, and at the next opportunity Im intending to take a symphony which Ive never heard more beautifully playedthe Mozart G minor, which I think is quite extraordinary the way they play itand take it apart and put it together again.  Its very interesting because first of all, one discovers more and more as one plays; secondly, little things creep in, so it’s like dusting a room every day.  Its partly a bit of housekeeping.

BD:  Is there ever a case where little good things creep in?

YM:  Oh, yes!!  Oh, yes!  In fact the evening will often bring some inspiration. 
They are sensitive; they know me well and I know them.  I can, with some little gesture, evoke something which they recognize as an intention which hasnt ever been before.  Its a lovely sensation; it gives one really the sensation of riding a stallionsomething that responds.  It understands the situation.  Its a wonderful satisfaction.

BD:  As the conductor, do you ever purposely leave a little bit of inspiration for the performance instead of doing it all at rehearsal?

YM:  Oh, yes.  It
s important to know what to rehearse, how much to rehearse, what to leavewhat one can leave with confidence, what one must leave either because one wants to keep the expectation at its apogee or you may just dull the edge with a little too much work; or one must leave things for another time because its too much to demand them at that moment because youre keyed up for a concert.  And you may have a lunatic idea which you want to try, and you think, "Well, Id better not tonight."  [Both chuckle]

BD:  You wait for the propitious moment!

YM:  For the propitious moment when there is breathing space.  It
s quite fascinating; Its an adventure, its a game, its elation, its exuberance and its discovery...  providing I have two to three hours sleep in the afternoon.  [Chuckles]

Do you like traveling all over the world with the music?

YM:  Yes; yes, but I must say I pay a price for it because I would love to be at home.  My wife is joining me next Thursday in Washington, but I couldn
t expect her to come on these one-night stands.  You cannot; it would be abuse of a beloved persons devotion.  We get up at five in the morning, drive five hours, arrive and have a meal at half past two, then get ready for the concert and come back at all hours.  Besides, one needs, very much, every moment of the day for concentration.  It is different once the tour is set and we reach a place where my wife can be in one placeshe can be in Washington for four days while I have an extra free day in Washington which is very precious.  I go to Richmond, Virginia, and other places in the vicinity, and then we move to New York and she stays there a week.  That works out very well.  Shes coming to Japan with me next month, in March.

BD:  Then let me turn the question around.  Is it not presumptuous on the part of the public to expect this kind of abuse of the performer
traveling all over the world for one-night stands?

YM:  I wouldn
t say it is.  There are certain things we do daily, and those things are demanded of us as part of our profession, which really means that its part of our way of life.  Its as much a part our routine as brushing ones teeth or any other function.  You have to be prepared for it.  I mean, you cannot eat three big meals one on top of the other.  You have to time and pace yourself so that the concert is the expression of the waiting the whole day to do what you want to do!  It would be impossible if one werent a professional in that respect.  I have been a touring professional for the past 58 years and I have my routine and my kinds of things that I do to eat and rest.  There is not much time for extraneous occupation.  Theres no sightseeing.  A tourist couldnt do this every day successfully, because if you want to see all the museums and all the places in each town and travel, he wouldnt survive.

*     *     *     *     *

BD:  Tell me the secret of performing Mozart.

YM:  [Thinks for a moment, then answers in a low, relaxed voice]  Ahhh.  Are we doing Mozart this evening?  No, I don
t think so; we are doing Mendelssohn.  Well, Mozart is much deeper than people assume.  He is a master, hes a great master.  People dont read into Mozart the gesture, the feeling, the intensity of expression masked behind the smile.  It is music of intense courtesy and chivalry; music of the greatest sensitivity for human emotions.  Mozart also understood women better than any other composer.  All you have to do is to go to his operas and see that.

BD:  Now you
ve conducted some of his operas...

YM:  Yes, I
ve conducted the Entführung, Così, La clemenza di Tito, La finta giardiniera...

BD:  Is Clemenza different because it is an opera seria?

YM:  Yes. 
Tito is more static, more like Handel in the arias.  But there isnt a moment when he isnt expressing something.  The mastery of Mozart is revealed in a work like Tito, which was his last.  I did a new production of it in Bonn two years ago.  It handles the most horrifying human situations, and you know there isnt one passage in minor in the whole opera, except for some very fleeting moments. 

BD:  I hadn
t realized that!

YM:  So behind the smile he is portraying the most ghastly human passions
intense, hateful, vengeful, destructiveas well as the greatest devotion.  And it ends, as generally all his operas end, in reconciliation.  Most of them; Don Giovanni doesnt, but that is his great message.  He is a man of intense sense of mission.  Beethoven we know.  He shows his mission.  We know exactly what he stood for, we know his philosophy because he has written it down.  We know his passions, his hates, his explosive greatness, his genius.  In the later quartets, he has somehow surmounted these wild passions, although theres still a trace of them.  But Mozart has left us charming and often naught letters.  Enescu always saidand I think its one of the truest things he said of Mozart — that he was like the gentle vineyard growing on the slopes of Vesuvius.  Actually there was a volcano behind it, and of course the G minor symphony is just that.

with enescuBD:  Is Mozart himself the pinnacle of music?

    [Photo at left: Menuhin with Enescu]

YM:  [Considers the statement]  The pinnacle...  [With understated surety]  Oh, yes!  There can be no question that he
s one of the pinnacles.  And he is elusive; every note stands for a gesture.  When I brought a Mozart concerto to Enescu, he said, "You wont really understand Mozart until youve seen his operas."  Whereupon my good father, taking the masters word literally, took me within a few months to Salzburg, where we stayed for about two weeks, listening to opera every night.  There were other concerts during the day.  I was then about 16, and it was just right.  After the two weeks we joined my mother and her sisters on holiday in Italy.  But that was a great revelation.

BD:  Is his treatment of voices in the operas different than his treatment of instruments in the concerti?

YM:  No, not different, and yet, what is revealing in the opera for people who want to interpret Mozart is the way he marries the note to the word, and therefore what the note means and what the phrase means to him in this situation.  These two elements
the syllable and the situationare both are revealed in the recitativi more than anywhere else.  And the recitativi are generally abysmally handled; they just rattle the words down and then get on with the music.  Meanwhile, the conductor is impatiently waiting for the silly thing to end and take up his fixed aria.

BD:  So the recitatives are just something to get around?

YM:  They
re just to get around, and of course that is totally wrong because all the dramatic action happens in the recitative.  Once you get to the aria you have a fixed situation; the music is moving but the words remain the same, and you have an absolutely static dramatic situation.  It stops for the aria.

BD:  It
s the revelation of the emotion of the moment...

YM:  ...of the moment, yes.  But the dramatic action takes place during recitative, and they must be handled with enormous care for each word, each gesture.  It
s mime, its acting, its music, and theyre wonderfully writtenI mean psychologically, the way those notes follow each other.  And the harmony!  They are masterpieces, the recitativi, especially for Tito, which otherwise can be a boring opera.  Its a sequence of arias, very much like a Handel opera, and produced in a sort of static way, with soldiers dressed in Roman costume, and nothing is happening.  It is scenery with great statuary.  I had the fortune of working with this excellent Italian director, Francesca Siciliani, and we saw eye to eye with each other.  She came to Berlin some months before, and we went through the recitativi, because that was my way.  I wasnt worried about the music, the arias, but I was worried about the handling of those, and the gesture that accompanied it all.  So we went through every word, and I made no cutswhich is difficult because almost every singer cuts as much as they can.

BD:  Well, Tito, of course, is a little shorter.  Così is half again as long.  Do you allow any cuts in Così?

YM:  No, I didn
t make any cuts in Così.

BD:  That makes it a rather long evening, then.

YM:  Yes, but I don
t believe in cuts.  Once in a while I do leave out a repeat, but not in a symphony.  Of course if a singer is ill and you get a replacement, then you have to put up with the sequence theyre accustomed to.

BD:  But that
s an emergency situation.

YM:  Yes.

BD:  I hope you haven
t had to put up with that very often.

YM:  Not too often, no.  But in Germany they never have an understudy because there is an opera house every 50 miles
that is nearly true; its hardly an exaggeration!  If you are in the Ruhr area, you have Köln and Düsseldorf and Bonn and Dortmund and Essen, and any number of towns Ive forgotten, all with their opera houses.

BD:  And all within an hours drive of each other.

YM:  Within an hour
s drive!  We had to find a replacement from Hamburg, but you always find somebody who knows the role!  Its quite incredible.

*     *     *     *     *

BD:  In general, do you like the way that Mozart is performed when you
re not conducting?

YM:  No.  To be quite honest, I
ve rarely heard Mozart as I feel Mozart should be.  Rarely.  Muti doing Così in Salzburg was sheer bliss; there wasnt a note wrong.  There wasnt a gesture, there wasnt a bit of scenery, there wasnt any dramatic handling that wasnt absolutely perfect bliss.  Ive never seen anything more perfect.  And of course their singers were quite extraordinary.  There have been unforgettable performances of Mozart, but they are relatively few and far between.

BD:  Now this Così with Muti has been issued on records.

YM:  I haven
t heard it.

BD:  Well, do you feel that the recording will recreate that perfect kind of condition you experienced in the theater?

YM:  It will come nearer than most performances, yes.

BD:  You
ve recorded Abduction.

menuhinYM:  I
ve recorded Abduction a long time ago.  I did it in English and with good singers.  We had done it in English; that was one of my first operas.  I had the naïve idea and I persuaded EMI that, as there were no recordings in English, that probably everyone in the United States, Australia, Canada, England and South Africa would want to hear the opera in English.  [Both chuckle]  Well, the funny thing is it did not sell to any extent at all, and as they have a policy that anything that falls short of a certain scale is taken off the market, that was taken off the market.

BD:  Is it a recording you
re pleased with?

YM:  Ah, yes, I was quite pleased with it.  I
ve matured quite considerably, so there are probably many refinements I would make that I overlooked.  But nonetheless, it was a good performance.  Anyway, the funny thing is that people want to hear the opera in its original language.

BD:  Is this a good thing?

YM:  I think it
s a good thing.  Even if they dont understand it, the fact is that they want the authentic version.

BD:  Have you seen this new gimmick of putting supertitles in the theater above the proscenium?

YM:  I haven
t seen it, but I approve of it.  I think it shouldnt distract from the view, but its like the television performance of an opera.  It does keep the audience informed of what is happening, especially during the recitatives.  I think its rather a good thing, and its the best solutionrather than produce it in a translation.  What requires translation is the meaning, not the sound of the music.  The meaning they get on the little strip, and it leaves the opera to be performed in its original language!  Theres nothing worse than even the best translation because Mozart and other composers wrote their music for specific sounds and words that belong to their language.  I was very disappointed when I did La Finta Giardiniera in German.

BD:  As Die Gärtnerin aus Liebe?

YMDie Gärtnerin aus Liebe, yes.  It
s as valid as the other; I think Mozart worked at the text himselfor perhaps it was his father, but the music is simply not married to the words in the same way.  Italian is a wonderful language for singing.

BD:  Are you optimistic about the future of opera?

YM:  [Thinks for a moment]  Ooh, I think as much as I am about the future of the voice, as such.  There may come a time when we won
t sing anymore, like... who was that wonderful lady who wrote Silent Spring?

BD:  Rachel Carson.

YM:  Yes, Rachel Carson.  But that would be a calamity.  We
re working towards it, the way were going, but that would be one of the greatest blights that ever affected mankind.  But as long as people have voices, I wish theyd use them more.  Ive been talking my head off about the need for children to sing at the beginning of every school day, and for mothers and fathers to sing to their infants before theyre born.  Im the president of the Psychology of the Prenatal and I am a member of the Royal Society of Medicine!  I tell them I dont deserve that as Ive never been to medical school, but they say I know more about music therapy than anybody else.  So they made me a member, which is quite interesting.  They know more, now, about what happens before the child comes to view the world.  Those nine months are a conditioning, for the future in every respect!

BD:  Do you feel that each concert you give is therapeutic?

menuhinYM:  In a way; in a way. 
The people I meet are responsible people; theyre warm and their gratitude must denote some form of reaction, and it seems to be a positive reaction.  They may, someday, but they havent yet thrown anything at me.  [Both chuckle]  In the affection and the feeling of warmth in the way they come backstage, you can tell if people have been really moved.  I think its therapeutic in many ways.  Not all music is therapeutic, though; some music today is just the opposite.  But think of the great Passions of Bach that really wring the human heart, that take it through every conceivable state of beingall the way from bliss and meditation, to terror, compunction, a sense of guilt, to gratitude, to reverence.  Theres an AmericanI think hes working in Australia now... I wish I could remember his namewho has evolved a sort of emotional cycle which begins, I think, with love and ends with love, but it goes through all of the emotions in a form of a sequence.  He has also analyzed the music and cataloged it in these terms.  And he has evolved a kind of monitor, a yardstick, so that the response of the person listening can be analyzed.  It goes a bit far in terms of a deliberate, methodological kind of approach, but hes found that when he puts people through his whole cycle, which is what a great work of music does, they are, as it were, purged of their negative emotions; theyve spent them.  Theyve been through them and they are far more balanced and relaxed afterwards.  He puts them through synthetically.  I knew more about it and Ive forgotten the details; its some years ago, now, but its very interesting.  In other words, the need for people to set fire to stadiums or houses or throw bombs like terrorists, they want to get their own back on society, or theyre frustrated.  Music is the first and most basic therapy of all civilizations.  By dancing it away or by acting it away or by putting themselves through the great storywhether it is the story of Jesus and the crucifixion in the New Testament, or whether it is some other story which theyve evolved in Africathey literally become more reliable and better citizens.  They are more balanced people because they are getting rid of emotional toxins.

BD:  Purging the mind.

YM:  Purging the mind and the heart.  You come out feeling clean and seeing things in a new light.  There
s no doubt that the great Passions are therapeutic for the faithful.  Theres no question.

BD:  But you have to be ready to accept them.

YM:  You have to be ready to accept them.  You have to be a believer, but you don
t even have to be a literal believer.  Once you know that human passions are as they are, it can be Jesus who is crucified that is the symbol.  We have plenty of facts about the millions of people who are being crucified every day around the world, whether they are dying of famine or radioactivity, or they are refugees or whatever it may be.  Bach and the early Christians knew all about martyrs to human idiocy and prejudice and malevolence and ambition and greed and all the rest.  Its always been.  So you dont have to literally be a fundamentalist Christian; you can be a Jew or you can be anything else and you know that its humanly true.  These are simply symbolic of what is true today, as it was when poor Jesus was crucified.  Human civilization requires that we read into it what is the beauty, the devotion, what it implies in terms of commitment, what it implies in terms of our search for perfection, of translating our vision into real relationships.

*     *     *     *     *

BD:  Is there music being written today that stirs those kinds of emotions?

YM:  [Gently but firmly]  Yes!  I think some of the pieces by Penderecki because the Poles are true believers. 
[See my Interview with Krzysztof Penderecki.]  We live, unfortunatelyor fortunately, as you may wish to look at itin an age that ignores the symbolic, or pretends to ignore the symbolic, and believes in reality.  Reality without the symbol isnt really human reality.  They say, "Cut out that nonsense,"the symbol"We want the thing itself."  What happens, then, with the thing itself?  The other night in my motel room, out of curiosity I turned on the television and had my choice of programs with strong language, violence, or sex.  Its marked in a way so you can choose.  It was one of those pay-things where you press a button and get what you want.  [In a rather matter-of-fact, off-hand tone of voice, somewhat under his breath]  I took the sex one.  It was enough to disgust you altogether, because everything it stands for is the reality without any symbolic content.

BD:  And taken to its extreme.

menuhinYM:  And taken to its extreme.  That
s the civilization we live in, and yet the astronauts will go to the Moon and write mystical accounts of what the Earth looks like.  When the advertisers want us to smoke more, they will show it in the light of touching innocent youthful romance next to unpolluted waters.  You see?  We havent lost that ability.  And as far as being pagan is concerned, we have never stopped being pagan.  We have adopted the monotheistic, which is the symbolic unity and the one God.  But the fact is that we have never abandoned the many gods; nor can we, nor should we!  I think its part of what we have to have.  The Old Testament is a transition from the pagan to the monotheistic, which is one that occurred over a huge part of the world to millions of people.  I just conducted Betulia liberata of Mozart.  Its a big oratorio which he wrote when he was 15.  Its the story of Judith slaying Holofernes, this tyrant of the pagan horde which is putting Betulia under siege.  The residents are reduced to famine and there is nothing to eat.  The Jewish king of Betulia is implored; his residents implore him to surrender, but he feels its better, in the end, to die.  At this moment the prince of the pagans has been pushed aside and deposed by the tyrant.  The prince is an accepted traditional figure; you have a prince, and hes devoted to you.  But a tyrant is a totally different thing.  Its Amin; its Bokassa.  No self-respecting civilization ever lived without a prince or a king.  So the prince comes.  He has left the tyrant and offers himself.  He says, "I have long respected the Jews for your belief in the One God.  I think its quite extraordinary when I see how he has interceded on your behalf so often."  The whole oratorio is a story of the transition from the pagan to the monotheistic.  But the Jewish King says its not enough to adore him.  You must abandon your faith and you must really put all your trust in Him.  And then, theres this most wonderful line in the whole the oratorio.  He says, "I love my pagan gods.  I can handle them, I can talk to them, I can see them!  And you want me to leave all of this for a god I cant even touch?"  Then the story goes on.  Judith is dressed in the most wonderful, resplendent clothes from the Jewish camp, and says, "Im going alone."  She goes alone to their enemies, seduces Holofernes, and comes back with his head.  And of course thats the triumph of the Jewish God.  I did it in Vienna without cuts, and it was beautifully done.  All the recitative were wonderful.  I tell you this story to illustrate that we live in a civilization that doesnt recognize abstractions, that wants to see and touch everythinga motorcar, the Moon, sex, whatever it may be we want to see and touch.  We forget that these are only indications; the senses are only guides to a state of being, and we have to interpret.  Were not human unless we interpret.

BD:  Is this what makes music so special for you,
that it exists in time and you cant touch it?

YM:  Exactly.  Exactly.  You
ve put your finger on it.  That is whats extraordinary about music.  Its tangible because it affects our ear as it goes into our body, but as vibrations.  We cant actually put it on a table and say that it weighs so much and well send it by air mail... unless it is on a record!  The extraordinary thing is that its both tangible and intangible.  It bridges the world of the so-called intangiblesfrom the world of vibrations to the world of matter!  It is the marriage of vibration and matter.  Therefore Einstein was a violinist because music is the union, the bridge, the link of the two.  When we receive music, we are really receiving the union, the contact, if you wish, with all the vibrations of the whole universe which are man-fashioned and transformed in the art of time.  Its like poetry, but even more musical.  Its rhythm and its poetry, melody and harmony; its like a sculptor, but one who sculpts in time.  It takes time.  No other artexcept poetry and dramaoccupy time.  They occupy space.  Time enables music to put us through a dramatic, intense, subjective situation.  We live it, we actually live it.  When we are looking at a painting, we can live it but we have to reinterpret through our eyes.  One can do that but we have to make the effort.  Whereas in music, it invades us, as it were.  And then, the more we know about it, the more we can follow it with our minds, with our hearts, with everything!  Humor and teasing in Mozarts musicand Beethovens, for that mattereverything, every human emotion is there.  And sometimes, as you grow older, its almost better than the real thing.  Its been very curious.  I enjoy my profession.

BD:  You
ve been most gracious to spend a little time with us this afternoon.

YM:  I was delighted!

Yehudi Menuhin

Born: April 22, 1916 - New York, USA
Died: March 12, 1999 - Berlin, Germany

menuhinThe American violinist and conductor, Yehudi Menuhin, had one of the longest and most distinguished careers of any violinist of the 20th century. Menuhin was born in New York of Russian-Jewish parents, recent immigrants to America. By the age of seven his performance of Mendelssohn's Violin Concerto had found him instant fame. As a teenager he toured throughout the world and was considered one of the greats long before his twentieth birthday. Even in his earliest recordings one can sense deeply passionate responses to the great composers. Though considered a technical master, it is his highly charged emotional playing that set him apart.

As a young man Yehudi Menuhin went to Paris to study under violinist and composer George Enesco. Enesco was a primary influence on Menuhin and the two remained friends and collaborators throughout their lives. During the thirties, Menuhin was a sought after international performer. Over the course of World War II he played five hundred concerts for Allied troops, and later returned to Germany to play for inmates recently liberated from the concentration camps. This visit to Germany had a profound effect on Menuhin.

As a Jew and a classical musician, Yehudi Menuhin had a complex relationship with German culture. He was fluent in German and deeply influenced by classical German composers. Menuhin found in the German conductor Wilhelm Furtwängler an important musical peer. Despite accusations of Wilhelm Furtwängler's pro-Nazi sympathies, Menuhin continued to support him and his work. It seemed that for many years, Menuhin led a double life. He was an outspoken supporter of dozens of causes for social justice, while also longing for a solitary life where he could ignore the concerns of society and attend only to the history of music and his role within it.

Throughout the 1940’s and 1950’s, Yehudi Menuhin performed and made recordings from the great works of the classical canon. During this time he also began to include rarely performed and lesser known works. One of his greatest achievements is the commissioning and performing of Sonata for Solo Violin by Béla Bartók. In Béla Bartók, Menuhin found a composer of deep emotion and pathos that mimicked his own. Béla Bartók's work was at once technically rigorous and open to interpretive playing. Of Menuhin, Béla Bartók said he played better than he imagined he would ever hear his work played. Their collaboration is considered one of the greats of twentieth-century classical music.

By the 1960’s, Yehudi Menuhin began to increase the scope of his musical involvement. In 1963 he opened the Yehudi Menuhin School, a school for musically gifted children. He also began conducting, which he would continue to do until his death. He conducted in many of the important music festivals and nearly every major orchestra in the world. It was around this time he also broke from his traditional roots and did work outside of the classical genre. One of his most successful ventures out of traditional performance was with the great Indian composer and sitarist Ravi Shankar.

with shankar

Throughout the last twenty years of his life, Yehudi Menuhin continued to engage in every aspect of musical work. As a performer, a conductor, a teacher, and a spokesperson, he spent his seventies and eighties as one of the most active musicians in the world. He was a constant contributor to religious, social, and environmental organizations throughout the world.

Among his many books were: ‘Violin: Six Lessons’ (1972); an autobiography ‘Unfinished Journey; (1977); with Curtis W. Davis ‘The Music of Man’ (1980), based on the television series of the same title, and ‘Life Class’ (1986)

© 1987 Bruce Duffie

This interview was recorded in Chicago on January 31, 1987.  Portions (along with recordings) were broadcast on WNIB later that year and again in 1990, 1991 and 1996.  A copy of the unedited audio tape was placed in the Archive of Contemporary Music at Northwestern University.  The transcription was made early in 2009 and posted on this website soon thereafter. 

To see a full list (with links) of interviews which have been transcribed and posted on this website, click here.

Award-winning broadcaster Bruce Duffie was with WNIB, Classical 97 in Chicago from 1975 until its final moment as a classical station in February of 2001.  His interviews have also appeared in various magazines and journals since 1980, and he now continues his broadcast series on WNUR-FM, as well as on Contemporary Classical Internet Radio.

You are invited to visit his website for more information about his work, including selected transcripts of other interviews, plus a full list of his guests.  He would also like to call your attention to the photos and information about his grandfather, who was a pioneer in the automotive field more than a century ago.  You may also send him E-Mail with comments, questions and suggestions.