Thursday 26th April

Meet our new Principal Clarinet

Meet David McGregor, the CSO's Principal Clarinet. We caught up with him and had a chat about music and life in general. 

What made you decide to study music?

I don't think it was ever a conscious decision to study music. I think I always knew I wanted to be a musician, but it was really only in my second year that I knew I wanted to take clarinet more seriously and took strides to improve my orchestral playing and follow a more orchestral and chamber music career path.

Tell us about a typical day in your life?

There never really is a typical day for me as I am still floating around the country performing with CSO and other orchestras, however I can say that it generally involves copious amounts of coffee!

When working with the CSO, I will generally spread my practise throughout the day as we usually rehearse in the evenings. I feel working with the CSO allows for a much more relaxed and careful preparation which is always welcome!

What’s on your playlist right now?

Usually I end up often relying on Spotify to tell me what I want to listen to. But I often listen to works that I'm preparing for orchestra and other projects - I'm a bit of nerd in that sense. However, I also like to listen to a lot of indie and alternative music when I'm driving or flying! Currently I've got a mix of Mavis in Las Vegas by Peter Maxwell Davies, Mahler Symphony No. 6 and an indie duo called The Bird and the Bee.

Who has influenced you the most and why?

I can't really think of just one person that has influenced me over others, but I've definitely taken inspiration from my former teachers (Frank Celata and Phil Green). I think a lot of the people who have influenced me in a big way not only provide guidance and inspiration surrounding the clarinet and music, but also life and its challenges and possibilities and finding a way to have a good balance of both.

What is the most challenging piece that you’re working on right now, and why is it challenging?

We have just had a period of quite challenging music recently, such as Ravel's Piano Concerto where I was playing Eb clarinet - we actually performed that work twice as we played it for the National Concerto Competition and for our Lamb & Hayward Masterworks: Pathétique concert. We are currently on a bit of a break so the next somewhat challenging piece I'll be preparing will be Mavis in Las Vegas by Peter Maxwell Davies for our Lamb & Hayward Masterworks: Sin City, Golden City concert.  

If you could invite anyone over for tea, dead, alive, or otherwise, real or imagined, who would it be and why?

I’d love to have Leonard Bernstein over for tea – absolutely love his work, but he just sounds like an absolute riot! There are a lot of composers whose work I really love, but they weren’t always the nicest people. I’m all about being surrounded by awesome, hilarious, and kind people.

What hobbies do you partake in outside of music?

I’m mildly obsessed with technology and cooking and food. I love cooking dishes from many different cuisines – just recently I’ve become quite enamoured with Filipino food, and I attempted to make the classic and totally scrumptious Pork and Chicken adobo – definitely good comfort food as we head into the colder months. 

If you weren’t a musician, what would you be?

There are lots of things I’m interested in. However, I can’t really see myself fully invested in anything outside of music. I suppose as I’m really into teaching clarinet and music, perhaps a school teacher would be most likely. 

What is your favourite book/movie/television show/radio play etc.?

I sadly don’t read so much anymore – I’m very much an audio/visual person, so I'm always finding things to binge watch on Netflix. 

I’m also into a few podcasts like Answer Me This, and The Bugle – definitely good for driving and flying!

Do you prefer a major or a minor key?

I like tonality and atonality more or less equally, but as it’s commonly described as a “happier” tonality, I’d have to say major. Music can have such a strong emotional and psychological impact, and I think there are many ways of communicating through both tonal and atonal music.

Read David's biography here