Thursday 23rd November 2023.
November 23, 2023
This morning Dr Computer is able to join us and, what a surprise he has come in with a brand new box of floppy disc’s. We chat a bit about the old equipment, Alex is a dab hand at rebuilding and repairing the old stuff, and he would like to have a museum to show it all off. Also coming up tomorrow “Black Friday” so a bit of advice and buying sensibly especially on line.
In the last hour today an absolute privilege to welcome Prof Fergus Mc William.
Berlin Philharmonic Hornist Fergus Mc William was born in 1952 on the shores of Loch Ness in the Scottish Highlands.
After hearing his first orchestra concert at the Edinburgh Festival when he was very young, he decided on the spot that he wanted to become a Horn Player.
When his family later emigrated to Canada, he sold newspapers to acquire his first instrument and pay for his lessons.
He graduated from the University of Toronto as a student of Eugene Riqch after his initial studies with John Simonelli, Frederick Rizner and Barbara Bloomer.
He made his first solo performance at the age of 15 with the Toronto Symphony in 1967 under Seiji Ozawa.
McWilliam worked as a freelancer in London, England, in 1971 and toured Canada extensively between 1972 and 1975 with the Classical Brass quintet.
He also performed with the National Ballet Orchestra of Canada and the New Chamber Orchestra of Canada.
In 1975 he obtained a place in the London Orchestra where he played with Karl Richter and continued performing with other Canadian orchestras and chamber music ensembles. He taught horn and chamber music at several music schools, especially at the University of Western Ontario, while studying in Amsterdam with Adriaan van Woudenberg of the Concertgebouw Orchestra and with Wilhelm Lanzky-Oao in Stockholm.
In 1979 McWilliam became a member of the Detroit Symphony Orchestra under Antal Dorati.
He joined the music faculty at the University of Windsor and was a founding member of the Renaissance Wind and Premier Brass quintets.
In 1982 he went to Germany and worked in the Munich Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Raphael Kubelik and Sir Colin Davis and continued to expand his solo and chamber music activities with Munich Wind Soloists, Bach-Kollegium Munich and Consorcium Classicum. He also performed with the Munich Philharmonic, the Bavarian State Opera and the Stuagart Chamber Orchestra.
Ultimately, McWilliam earned his Cornist position in 1985 at the Berlin Philharmonic under Herbert von Karajan.
In addition to the two most recent musical directors of this orchestra, Claudio Abbado and Sir Simon Raale, he has also performed with the maestro Leonard Bernstein, Carlos Kleiber, Günter Wand, Carlo María Giulini, Bernard HaiFnk, Eugen Jochum, Klaus Tennstedt, Sergiu Celibidache, Seiji Ozawa, Riccardo MuF, Pierre Boulez, Nikolaus Harnoncourt, James Levine and Daniel Barenboim.
Other historical figures with whom he acted, collaborated or was personally influenced were, for example, Aaron Copland, György Liguetti, Leopold Stokowski, MsFslav Rostropovich and Glenn Gould.
In 1988 he became a founding member of the Berlin Philharmonic Wind Quintet. After twenty-seven years touring the world and having made more than a dozen CD recordings, this ensemble enjoys benchmark status.
McWilliam also founded The Horns of the Berlin Philharmonic and helped re-establish The Winds of the Berlin Philharmonic. His solo and chamber music acabildases continue to take him through Europe, America and the Far East.
McWilliam also teaches students around the world and has given master classes at numerous leading music schools in different countries. He has not only taught at the Academy of the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra and at the Hanns-Eisler-Musikhochschule in Berlin; He has also been a visiting professor at, for example, the Royal Academy of Music and the Guildhall School in London, the Paris Conservatoire, the Tokyo University of Fine Arts and the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland in Glasgow. For almost a decade he taught within the famous Venezuelan music program El Sistema, and has since become a board member of Sistema Scotland. A significant number of his students have joined major world orchestras, including Sarah Willis, who is now his own colleague at the Berlin Philharmonic.