Composer  Maurice  Weddington

A Conversation with Bruce Duffie


Maurice Weddington was born in Chicago on May 16, 1941, where he received his formal education at college and music conservatory.

He began playing wind instruments at the age of nine, has lived in many different countries, worked as a film actor in Denmark, represented Denmark at two International Society for Contemporary Music festivals: Graz, Austria 1972, Bonn, West Germany 1977, was awarded the Danish National Art Grant 1976, '77, '78 and taught flute and English in Germany.

Since 1992, Weddington has also been directing, producing and composing the music for films of ancient Chinese paintings, primarily horizontal scrolls, from the collections of various prominent international museums.

To date: Maurice Weddington has composed more than 60 compositions, directed and produced three films and divides his time between the USA and Europe with periodic travels to the Far East.

==  From the composer's website  

Maurice Weddington was back in the Windy City in the fall of 1995 to supervise a concert of his music to be given at the Art Institute of Chicago, sponsored by the Goethe-Institut of Chicago.  The program appears at right.

It was a busy time for the composer, but he graciously agreed to sit down with me for an interview.  He was enthusiastic about the works and the performers, and our discussion mostly centered on that material.

After promoting the performance at the time on WNIB, Classical 97, now more than a quarter-century later, I am pleased to be able to present our chat on this webpage . . . . .

Bruce Duffie:   We’ll begin with the very obvious question.  How does the guy from Chicago wind up in Denmark and Germany, and then come back as a renowned international composer?

Maurice Weddington:   Needless to say, when I left I certainly didn’t know that I would be coming back in this way.  When I left I didn’t think I’d be coming back at all.  I left about a week after I finished my final exams at the American Conservatory.

BD:   Were you happy to get out, or were you just moving on?

Weddington:   Both.  I don’t know which was the strongest of those two, but it’s a combination of both.  I definitely wanted to go, and I hoped that I would be able to study with Olivier Messiaen at the Paris Conservatoire.  But I was very naïve.  I didn’t do any preparation, and I didn’t do any footwork.  I just simply didn’t prepare very well.  I was so full of a desire to hear modern music in those days where it was mostly coming from.  This was 1962.

BD:   You graduated with which degree?

Weddington:   I hadn’t graduated at all.  I just simply figured this was time to go.

BD:   You were partly through a degree?

Weddington:   Oh yes.  I had been studying composition, and I had received special permission from the conservatory.  For example, if you have a composer’s curriculum, you have to take two years of subjects like counterpoint, form and analysis, and harmony.  With other curriculums, you have to take just one year, and they gave me special permission to be able to take two years in one year.  That meant I was going to school day and night all the time.  It was costing a lot as well.

BD:   It was costing a lot in money, but was it also costing you a lot in time and energy, and your own physical resources?

Weddington:   Totally.  I was going to school from eight o’clock in the morning to sometimes eight or nine in the evening, because I was also going to City College at the same time.  I was just simply always in school, and I went to school all summer every year, also.  It was the only thing I was doing.  I was like a factory, so I decided, “Okay, financially this is pretty draining.”  I don’t know how it sounds, but I felt that I was ready.  I didn’t want to be here any longer.  I wanted to get on.  I wanted to hear the music I was interested in.  I was tired of reading periodicals about what was happening elsewhere, and I wanted to immerse myself in this stuff.  So, I got a one-way ticket, and filled two suitcases
one with music and the other with clothingand left.

BD:   Why did you want to go to Europe and study Messiaen and Boulez, rather than stay in American and study with Carter and Sessions?

Weddington:   What was happening in Europe interested me much more.  Also, Carter and Sessions had been influenced by what had been happening in Europe, so there was no point in me dealing with Carter and Sessions.  Plus, I didn’t much care for their music.  At that time, the composers that interested me most were Webern, Stockhausen, Boulez, and Messiaen.  I was no longer interested in Stravinsky.  This was 1962.  So, that’s why I wanted to go.

BD:   You wanted to get back to the roots of this kind of music?

Weddington:   Exactly, particularly with surrealism at that time.  That was the style I was just beginning to get into, and I wanted to go where I could hear a lot.  That’s another thing... I wanted to be where you could go to concerts regularly.  In Chicago at that time, such concerts were very few and far between.

BD:   Why did you want to be a composer rather than a performer of this music?

Weddington:   That’s something which was clear to me from early on.  As a teenager I liked instruments.  I first started playing trumpet when I was ten.  I played at the Chicago School of Music with a solo trumpeter with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra.  That I did until I was about eighteen, but at fourteen I started playing flute.  Then at sixteen I started playing cello, and then bassoon.  I found out that I liked all the instruments.  I wanted to know all of them, but I didn’t really want to become a performing musician.  I wanted to become a composer.  I was always fooling around with how music is put together, and how compositions were born, and when I received my first lesson of theory, it was such an invigorating experience.  It was such an absolute turn on, and I knew that was it.  There was absolutely nothing else that entered my mind.
BD:   You wanted to be the one to put the compositions together, and give them life?

Weddington:   I found out how you could begin that process, and the ways in which you could begin to focus your thinking.  That way you could begin to shape your inspiration.  I found that there are certain building blocks, things that you can play around with that could begin a process whereby the outcome might be actually a composition of music.

BD:   Now, jump ahead thirty years or so.  Have you now found out how it’s actually done?

Weddington:   I’m still a student.  It’s amazing.  It’s truly amazing that the more you know, the more you know you don’t know, and the further the boundaries are that you’re still reaching.  But I generally come up with compositions now, and they do get performed.

BD:   Are all these compositions that you write on commission, or are some of them just things you have to get out of your thoughts?

Weddington:   For some of them, it’s 50/50.  The very latest piece which I’ve composed is a work that I simply wanted to do, because it’s also for an instrument where there’s almost no literature.  It’s called a musette, and it is a piccolo oboe.  [For a photo of the musette, along with the rest of the oboe family, see my interview with Robert Lombardo.]  There’s very little literature for it, and the soloist I wrote the work for [Ernest Rombout, shown at left] is so outstanding, and has a tremendous reputation.  He asked me to write a work because he had recently played the oboe and English horn part in a triple concerto that was commissioned by the City of Berlin [Nearness: A Triple Concerto for Flute and Alto Flute, Oboe and English Horn, Bass Clarinet and Chamber Orchestra (1989/2005)
].  I heard what he did with that, which is a very difficult part.  Also, we get along very well, and that’s something I need if I’m writing solo works.  It’s not just for the instrument.

BD:   So, you write for a specific person?

Weddington:   I now have to write as much for the person as the instrument because I write such demanding music.  I need to know where their strengths are, and if they are able and willing to take on all the demands that the music will require from them, not only with their virtuosity, but with their mentality and personality.  For example, on the program that will be on the Art Institute program, there’s one work, Seul, which is played by the bass clarinet.  I would suspect this would be perhaps the 73rd time Harry Sparnaay’s played this piece, and to date, twelve other bass clarinetists have attempted to learn this piece, and have never succeeded.  One of the reasons is that the work is also physically demanding.  The player has to invest a lot of energy and a lot of psychological strength to survive this piece.  [A biography of Sparnaay is shown near the bottom-left of this webpage.]

BD:   Did you write it to be difficult, or did you just write it this way because this is what this performer inspires?

Weddington:   Actually, the story of that work is rather interesting.  Sparnaay has been here in Chicago a number of times, and this will be the first Chicago performance of that work, but not the first American performance.  I met him in
72 at the Gaudeamus competition in Holland.  He just won the composer’s prize and interpreter’s prize that year.  I had been there in 71 and 72 and won prizes.  We got to know one another, and as we were speaking he asked me to write him a work.  I said yes.  I wasn’t sure how strong that yes was, because I was about to launch myself into something new.  I didn’t quite know what it was, but I knew I was changing.  I was going to make a radical change in what I had been doing, and I felt that what I was up to was going to be very demanding.  I didn’t know where he was because I didn’t know him that much at that time.  In 75, I ran into him quite by accident in Berlin.  I had just moved to Berlin, and he was giving a concert there.  We met in his place, and we were very happy to see one another again.  He took me into the kitchen because it was the only place we could be alone, and he showed me some new techniques that he had learned in North Africa.  I just listened to him, and absorbed the way he was speaking to me and showing me things.  We were grabbing napkins and writing little bits of information down, and I realized he was ready for what I was thinking of doing.  That really ignited me.  I said, “It’s going to hurt, Harry.  It’s going to be painful.  It’s going to be exhausting,” and he said, “Write it.”  So I began.  That was in May of 75, and that work was finished on the 31st of December.  In 76, we won this prize with it at the Fourth International Composers Seminar of the Boswil Foundation in Zurich.  Since then, he’s played it a lot, but I needed to know that he was ready to invest everything that I was going to put into it.  To get directly to your question, it isn’t that I intended that the work would be so demanding, but I wanted to not only say a lot, but I wanted to express things that can only be brought out through effort.  That was the intention of that work.  The title, Seul, means alone in French.  As one jury member there correctly perceived, he asked, “Is this work something whereby this person is building their own world alone?”  I said, “Exactly.”  I was amazed when he realized it, because in this work, the soloist must also play the bass clarinet at some point with only the left hand, while he plays various percussion instruments with the right hand.  Needless to say, he must be able to do that, but to write this, I also needed to know the instrument, to know what’s possible.  So, I studied it.  I really studied it.  I had to know that he would and could do that.  There’s a long passage for circular breathing.  That was something that he told me in the beginning.  He said, “I can do that, but it would be best if you put it close to the end, and don’t write it longer than three minutes.”  So, I put it in the beginning, and I wrote it for four minutes, because when I saw him there in the kitchen, I knew if he dug deep enough he could get it.  He could come up with it.  I knew that the work was going to be long, so for four minutes he started off with the circular breathing, and then it was eleven minutes before he got to the end.  There is everything in there you could possibly want.

BD:   You weren’t worried that it would be too exhausting for him?

Weddington:   I was a little concerned, but I felt that I needed someone who could really get out of their instrument and out of themselves.  They must be my voice.  I wanted to be able to say something for the first time since
62, and this was now 75.  I had not really gotten down into the deeper parts of myself, and not just be a talented composer who shows some sort of intellectual abilities.  I wanted now to write music that goes a little closer to my feelings and thoughts about things, and not just simply my thoughts about working with systems and structures.

BD:   Is he conveying just your thoughts, or is he at all a collaborative artist infusing some of himself into the work?

Weddington:   My God, that’s a good question, because this is something that comes out very strong particularly in this piece.  We were at the Warsaw Festival in
77, and the piece had been performed.  There was a press conference afterwards, and one of the media people asked me to explain to them my interest in jazz.  I looked at them, and felt I understood why they asked that, but I wanted to be sure.  I’m an Afro-American, and Harry Sparnaay is a Caucasian Dutch person.  In this piece, some of the notation sounds as if it’s improvisation.  However, there is not one bit of improvisation in this work.  Everything is notated.  Everything.  There’s a lot of stuff there, but it’s deliberately written in such a way in some places where it should sound free like that.  But the curious thing is I’ve never played jazz.  I’ve always studied classical music.  But this Dutchman used to be a jazz musician, and this media person assumed that my interest had been jazz.  On the other hand, there are certain places in this work where the soloist gives a flavor to it, whereby you could get this feeling of a jazz idiom.  So, there is that possibility of being impressed along those lines.

BD:   Do you want each performance that he plays to be an exact duplicate of the previous performance?

Weddington:   No, I don’t want that.  I have nothing against it if it should happen, but it is very unlikely because the work is written in such a way that due to the physical demands of the work you are going to have more or less some give and take here and there along the way.  One day, one time, you’re going to be a little more exhausted than the other, and I’ve never seen him leave the stage after playing this work where he isn’t drenched in perspiration.  That’s why on the concert here in Chicago, it will be the second piece on the program, because in the last piece on the program he plays again, and he’ll need that gap to rest up.  Normally this work is the last work on a program because it’s exhausting.  It’s not only exhausting, but the audience goes through this experience as well.

BD:   I just wonder if you’ve written maybe even too much, that you get a tired player coming to an exhausting piece, and the audience has come through so much.  Are they ready, then, for one last burst of so much?

Weddington:   I think so, because the program is so balanced.  For example, at the end of this program we have the triple concerto, which is for bass clarinet, flute who also plays alto flute, and oboe who also plays English horn, with an ensemble of strings and two percussionists.  That work is very gentle, so different from Seul.  The demands there are very, very different, so in the triple concerto he has to produce very subtle sounds, and very delicate things.  He needn’t be such a physical powerhouse there.

*     *     *     *     *

BD:   Let me ask a favorite question.  What is the purpose of music?  [Note that we hear a taxi and a fire engine going by outside as we speak.]

Weddington:   If you consider or define music as the creating of intended sounds, or if you include assimilating sounds
, even if it’s the usage of accidental sounds, such as we’re seeing hereperhaps a taxi or a fire engine going byand we hear it, and we incorporate it and do something with that sound, then you could say that the purpose is to be able to ultimately enjoy it.  That’s about the best I can do.  I don’t see anything other than that.

BD:   When you talk about accidental sounds, such as a fire engine or a taxi cab going by, do you incorporate these things, or do you want everything set before the piece is performed?

Weddington:   I have written pieces years ago where, if accidental sounds come into play, that is quite fine.  That is not the case any longer. Now I am very concerned about every sound, every little bit of sound.  I would very much like it if there was absolutely no noise in the audience, and simply to be able to have that rare moment of hearing only what I’ve written, or only what the musicians give to what I have written.  Perhaps there would be the sound of a breath being taken, because in my wind music, I have deliberately placed breathing indications at places where I know very well the wind player doesn’t need to take a breath, but I want that to be heard.  I have written music where breathing is, in fact, a compositional element of the music.  In all of my orchestral music, there is an indication saying the orchestra must under no circumstances tune up on the stage.  They must do that behind the stage, and when they come on the stage, they should sit down and be quiet.  The first sound they must make is from this composition.  They are told that at the last rehearsal, and it’s made very clear to them, and if they do not adhere to this, it means it cannot be delivered... but that hasn’t been the case.

BD:   I would think they would always try to do your wishes.

Weddington:   Right, but you’d be surprised what can happen in trying to get wishes fulfilled.  [Laughs]

BD:   Am I naïve in thinking that they at least try?

Weddington:   They try, but wild things happen.

BD:   Is there such a thing as a perfect performance?
Weddington:   I’ve certainly had some performances that are very close to being very good... I mean really close.  Or, you could also say that I’ve had performances where all the notes have been played right.  The three soloists coming over to perform on this concert don’t play any wrong notes.

BD:   But I would assume that’s where you start, rather than where you end.

Weddington:   Right.  That’s it.  The notes are there, and the phrasing and articulation, and all that, but those are the simple things in my music.  By
notes I’m referring to what we all refer to as ordinary notes, but in my music of late, I have very few of such notes.  In my music for woodwind instruments, I’m now investigating the world of multiphonics, microtones, and all that.  These are all things that are very easy on piano, or on a string instrument, but I’m doing all that on woodwind instruments, so I need players with exceptional abilities.

BD:   And lots of control?

Weddington:   Total control of the aperture, and fingering, and breathing, and all of these things.  For example, in my flute work, Deovolente, [played by Starreveld, biography shown at left] which was completed in
92, it is deliberately structured so that the point of view is that you are always hearing music from at least two perspectives.  That is to say, the music is always moving vertically and horizontally at the same time.  You can analyze it in either way, and you hear that.  It begins with two notes being played at the same time, and it just simply spreads out from that.

BD:   Do you expect people to get both horizontal and the vertical ideas together?  [Vis-à-vis the biography shown at left, see my interview with George Crumb.]

Weddington:   It’s there for you to hear, and you will hear it if you relax, and not really try too intensely to follow any particular thing.  Then you are free enough to be able to actually perceive this kind of movement.

BD:   How is this different from just a melodic line that has been harmonized, because there you have your horizontal and your vertical together?

Weddington:   First, we’re playing with an instrument that basically is a melodic instrument...

BD:   [Surprised]  Oh, this is for a solo instrument?

Weddington:   This is for solo flute.

BD:   Oh, I see.  Then it is a single line, and there is no vertical.

Weddington:   Right.  It is for solo flute, and he begins his work with two notes at the same time.  From these two, we move on.  Sometimes we simply have one note coming out of that, and then later on we have two.  Sometimes he plays three or four notes at once.  The work continually moves through in such a way that you are always having a horizontal and vertical movement.  Rhythmically, you’re hearing it in such a way that you clearly hear both of these movements.  The proximity of these is such that you never lose the feeling that it is moving in this horizontal direction at the same time, so the vertical chords never seem to be simply like accents into a horizontal melody.  It requires a lot of control.

BD:   It sounds like everything you write is a tour de force!

Weddington:   Lately it is, yes.

BD:   Is the music you write for everyone?

Weddington:   That’s another thing I’m really looking forward to finding out a bit about with this concert.  I’ve been giving interviews, and going to receptions, and speaking with people in different groups every other day for three weeks now, and a lot of these people hardly go to classical concerts.  I’m talking about the Classic period, not to mention the Romantic period and later.  They will be coming to this concert, so this would be a very cold shower for some people.  Of course, there’ll be others there for whom this is their bread and butter.  This is their usual fare to some degree.  So, I like the idea of setting these various types side by side, and getting some feedback on that.  Personally, with regard to America, it’s been my experience in San Francisco and New York, that the audiences have responded very well to my music.  Very often, it’s simply laymen in the audience that are simply coming out of curiosity, or someone brought them along, but they aren’t professional musicians.

BD:   You’re really not just preaching to the converted?

Weddington:   No, and I don’t want to.  I frown upon that.  What does that bring?  These are people you know are going to come.  You know what their interest is.  There’s no point speaking to colleagues all the time.  What’s the point of that?  I may have a beer with them, or drink a glass of wine and you talk shop, but I like reaching out to people who normally would not come to a concert such as this.  I’m trying to convince them.  For example, there are many people out there who really do believe that the modern music still has that
‘Stockhausen’ sound of the late 50s and early 60s.

BD:   It’s gone so far beyond that.

Weddington:   Yes. They find it hard to believe that there’s melody again in modern music.  I write an awful lot of melody.  It’s a different type of melody, but it’s a melody that you perceive as such.

BD:   Is it a melody that you have discovered, or is it a melody that you have created?

Weddington:   It
s a bit of both.  I haven’t heard my music elsewhere.  Perhaps someone is going to come along and say, “This sounds like so-and-so, and you’re just doing the same thing.”  Well, they’re going to have to convince me of that.  One of the reasons I’m writing in this style is because it fascinates me, and also I feel I’m doing something that’s new for me.  I haven’t heard it around, and I’m still fascinated with it.  So, that’s where it’s coming from.

BD:   Do you only compose, or do you also do any teaching?

Weddington:   I also give private flute lessons.  I’m doing that in Berlin.  I’ve done other things before, and I don’t like teaching very much... but I like eating.  [Laughs]

BD:   What advice do you have for younger composers coming along?

Weddington:   To compose.  To really do it.  To try to listen to themselves.  Write their music.  I went to concerts all the time when I was beginning.  I was like a sponge.  Now I hardly ever go to concerts, but it’s important to hear a lot and read a lot, but try to write your music, and be as careful as you can with regard to those things that are influencing you.  You can’t help but be influenced by what others are doing.  When you come to my concert, I hope I influence you somehow, but I hope I also influence you to get into yourself.  That’s the most important thing.  Everything else is a matter of your own talent and learning.  Get a formal education, but one should be mindful of formal education because, particularly in the States, it’s pretty easy to put a lot of emphasis upon that, and not enough on your own creativity.  Academia is good, but it can also be a trap.

BD:   One has to learn from it, but then break away from it?

Weddington:   Right.  I turned down some teaching positions because I don’t want to be involved in there too heavily.  If someone came along and said, “You only have to do this, and this, and that’s all you have to do, and all you have to teach,” then fine.

BD:   You will do it on your own terms?

Weddington:   Yes, on my own terms, I would.  But so far, I haven’t heard my terms coming out of someone else’s mouth.

*     *     *     *     *
BD:   You’ve written a piece for Nelson Mandela?

Weddington:   Yes.  Let me tell you how that came about.  In May of
74, I felt the need to write something that was a little more personal instead of all these other pieces.  I’ve been writing a lot of orchestral music that had interesting and fascinating ideas that would be explored, but I wanted to incorporate something that was very personal, and be something on a large scale.  So, I began a trilogy, which is entitled Fire in the Lake, which the title is from the 49th hexagram in the I Ching, of which Fire in the Lake is the image for revolution.  It refers to the fire which is not on the shore, it’s not near water, it is in the water.  In other words, the conflict is at its highest point.  The fire is trying to vaporize the water, and the water is trying to douse the flames.  They are in very close combat.  The fire is now inside the water, so that was the image, and it should be on a large scale.  I began the work, and it started to get very large.  The work just grew and grew and grew in the structures and forms.  Suddenly, I realized I didn’t think I could say all this and get it all in one work, or that anyone could possibly sit through it in the course of a day without physically injury or mental stress.  So, I decided it had to be a trilogy.  The first part of the trilogy is a concerto for bass clarinet and orchestra, and there comes Harry Sparnaay [shown at left].  Actually, I’ve written eight works for him, and that was one of them.  That first section was completed in April of 78, and was premiered with the Belgian Radio Symphony Orchestra in June.  It’s about thirty-five minutes long without pauses.  It’s intense, and demanding on the soloist and the orchestra.  The second movement is for saxophone quartet.  It’s only eight minutes long, and can be played by any combination of saxophones.

BD:   Altos, tenors...

Weddington:   Anything!  You can have four basses if you like, or three basses and one soprano.  Any way you like it, you can mix it.  There’s no full score, just the four parts.  All four also play percussion instruments at the same time from the beginning to the end.  So, they play the whole piece with one hand.  It has been done a number of times in Europe.  The last movement is a concerto for symphony orchestra, and that’s the one that’s dedicated to Nelson Mandela.  It’s forty-five minutes long, and really explores all sections of the orchestra.  That’s why it’s a concerto for orchestra, in the same sense that Bartók’s Concerto for Orchestra is a concerto for orchestra.

BD:   Was this written while he was still in prison, or after he had gotten out?

Weddington:   No, no, no, no, no.  He was still in.  I had no idea that politics would play a role in the premiere of this work, but he was still in prison when I finished the work.  I began working on it on the 26th of May of `74, and I completed the final part of the trilogy on the 22nd of August

BD:   Just at the time he coming out!

Weddington:   Exactly.  I was reading the papers, and listening to the news, and I’m sitting there composing and wondering what’s happening?  What’s going on?  I was in negotiations with the manager of the Berlin Radio Symphony Orchestra about doing the premiere of this work.  We began discussing this while Mandela was still inside, and at the same time, the Berlin Wall started coming down.

BD:   The whole world was in an upheaval.

Weddington:   Exactly.  All this was going on, and ultimately we made a date for the premiere of the concerto-symphony.  But we had to cancel it because when the wall came down, the symphony decided that they would make a series of performances for east German composers.  So my concert fell out, and we had to wait about a year and a half.  I was a little disturbed by that, but under the circumstances, I totally could understand it.  That’s part of what this work was all about, so I felt that it was quite fitting, actually.  After working on something for sixteen years, you’re kind of anxious to hear it.  This had been what was rolling around in my head a long time, but as it turned out, perhaps it all worked in my favor, because then the manager said, “We’ve decided to allow you to select your own conductor.  You can select anyone you want.  We think this is really an incredible composition, so let’s make sure it’s done correctly, and the way you would like.

BD:   Whom did you select?  [Vis-à-vis the biography shown at left, see my interviews with Luciano Berio, Iannis Xenakis, and Isang Yun.]

Weddington:   Michael Morgan from Chicago.  I called him up, and said, “Are you interested?”  He said, “Are you crazy???  I’d love to do that!
 So I sent him the score, which is larger than most kitchen tables.  It’s a huge thing and has no pauses.  It’s forty-five minutes of heavy going.  So he did it on the 10th of January in 92.  The work was written for one hundred and one instruments, and the stage couldn’t hold that many players.  There was something like sixty-eight strings, so they redid the stage so that we could fit all these people on there.

BD:   Was it well-received?

Weddington:   Oh, very well.  I was called back five times on the stage.  It was a sellout.  It was amazing.  I was overwhelmed, I must say.  I never expected such a response.

BD:   [At this point we stopped for a moment to take care of a few technical details.  I also asked him his birthdate...]  Are you at the point in your career that you want to be right now?

Weddington:   As far as the composing of music, yes.  There were a few years I didn’t write anything at all.  I didn’t write one single work for a few years, but I needed those years to just think it all over, and feel.  I needed it because there were three years in succession where I wrote eight works each year.  That was really heavy.

BD:   That’s not fermentation, that’s burnout!

Weddington:   Right, and all of those works were not commissions.  It was just something that I needed to do, but then I had a few years where I just simply wandered around.  But now, it’s coming in the way I wanted.  I’m writing works now that are generating other works, which are very fascinating for me.  Also, I have the kind of soloists I want.  For me this is my life’s blood.  These people can play the music they want, and they’re always asking for it.  My thinking is that it’s there now, so I’m happy with that.  I would like to have more performances in this city, as it is my hometown, but as far as the compositions themselves, I’m quite satisfied.

BD:   Is composing fun?

Weddington:   Sometimes.  I could never really say yes, because you have to understand... I get up every day at 6:00 AM, seven days a week.  I’m usually sitting in my studio having prepared my tea, and with all the bits and pieces I need to work with by quarter to seven at the latest.  What I’m doing is called
work.  I’m not fooling around.  That goes on to about noon before I eat or do anything else.  Then I knock off, and put whatever teaching I have to do into the late afternoon when I’m tired.  I do those things, and then I do some sort of physical thing.  I need physical things.  I do a lot of running, or fitness, and then in the evening I go back and work some more.

BD:   Or go to concerts?

Weddington:   Yes, or something like that, and that’s the everyday routine.  So, you can’t say it’s
fun.  Sometimes, sitting there doing this work is very often sitting there pondering, and sometimes you don’t come up with anything that you actually put on paper as a finished product.

BD:   You need to know what doesn’t work?

Weddington:   Yes.

BD:   Thank you for the effort you have already made for your music, and I hope this concert goes well.

Weddington:   Thank you very much.

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© 1995 Bruce Duffie

This conversation was recorded at the Goethe-Institut of Chicago on September 28, 1995.  This transcription was made in 2022, and posted on this website at that time.

To see a full list (with links) of interviews which have been transcribed and posted on this website, click here.  To read my thoughts on editing these interviews for print, as well as a few other interesting observations, click here.

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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.