Wednesday, 20 September 2006

Music Questionnaire No 11 -Sam Fendrich

Sam Fendrich is a composer. He was born in Novosibirsk, Siberia in 1947. His music playfully mixes elements of popular music with atonality and wit. His works include "Octophobibone" for solo trombone and computer, the massive "Etude Brutus" for computer driven piano, "The Unquestioned Answer" for String Quartet and Tape, "Shulamite Requiem" for Electronic Choir and the beautiful "4G" for piano and violin, which was a finalist in the 1992 Cornelius Cardew Composition Prize.

Other interesting facts about Sam include that he spent a year as a professional poker player (in the time before internet poker I might add), he composed 39 songs for "Humphrey The Bear", an Australian Children's TV programme, and that he has a deep interest in mathematical philosophy, and when not composing, he teaches higher mathematics.

Who are you?

I am Sam Fendrich

Where are you based?

West Hampstead

What instruments do you play?

None really ...no really...I'm a composer...but I'm trying to learn piano ....so if there are any beginners out there (particularly blues or improv - ) who need inept keyboard - maybe..

What is your current or most recent project?

I've recently completed a 'challenging' piece (both physically and musically) for alto trombone and CD called ‘Von Entropicalto Memes’.

Name a record that had a big effect on you in your youth-

Charles Mingus' 'Mingus Ah Um' - it still does it for me

What was the last record/CD you played-

A various artists compilation of Kurt Weill songs entitled 'September Song'

List three records or CDs by artists other than yourself we should all hear-

'11 tracks of Wack' Walter Becker
'Fashion Music' John White
'Sinfonia Concertante' Mozart (amazingly) - the Heifetz/Primrose recording

Describe a live performance that had a big effect on you-

Cecil Taylor at Ronnie Scott's - some time in the 70's - phew

Your favourite live venue-

the old Marquee in Wardour Street - for sentimental reasons

What's the strangest place you've performed in/at?

I used to practice my double bass in bed - but more publicly - HMP Wormwood Scrubs - with the Westminster Phil.

Tell me about your worst experience as a performer-

Attaching a paper mache fish to Cinderella's fishing line as she's singing 'I caught a fish' with Buttons. I was depping, for one night in the pit of a little theatre in Watford. I turn the page of the score and read 'Attach fish to line'. But somebody had left the fish on the other side of the pit and I had to put down the bass and crawl across a couple of keyboards in full view of the audience. I couldn't get the fish to attach to the line. Cinders did not catch a fish that night - but it got the best laugh of the show.

Tell me about a great experience as a performer-

Playing a couple of gigs at the Peanuts with Louis Moholo and Mike Osborne as a dep for Harry Miller

Is improvisation important to you?

YES ....(actually I just made that up)

Name three heroes or heroines-

John White, Henry Miller, Lee Miller

What is your favourite city?

London

A couple of favourite books-

'The Phantom Tollbooth' Norton Juster; 'Foundations of Set Theory' Fraekel/Bar-Hillel/Levy

A couple of favourite films-

'To Live and Die in LA' (Freidkin) 'Once Upon a Time in America' (Leone)

What makes you laugh?

Funny Things........but seriously....verbal wit eg Graucho's stuff such as ...my favourite.. 'behind every great man there's a great woman; and behind her is his wife.'

A favourite website?

Donald Fagen's

Is there a pop song you feel sentimental about, and can you name it?

'How Sweet it is to be loved by you' by Junior Walker and the All Stars

but I got to mention 'Rainy Night in Georgia' by Brook Benton

and also ………….
Sam Fendrich
Thanks Sam
the music questionnaires are an ongoing series.

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