Artistic director London Philharmonic Orchestra

THE ARTS is not a profession, really; it's a vocation. It's not a nine- to-five job. You do it because you feel that you have to do it. I remember something that made a deep impact on me when I was eight or 10. There was a very active music education programme called Youth and Music, and we had it every three months in the school foyer. It was kind of a rough guide to music; you had a brass ensemble, and somebody explaining what it all was. One of the players later became my professor. It wasn't an extraordinary concert, but it was an extraordinary experience. When I was 25, I went to St Petersburg, and went to a performance of Sadko, the Rimsky-Korsakov opera. It was in the Kirov Opera and conducted by Valery Gergiev. The opera is enormously long, but families with young kids were there, sitting through this long opera of five hours, and falling asleep; it was just like watching TV, but for them it was real entertainment. It was an event that animated an entire community. For them, this illusion was very much needed; art was capable of being a sublimation of harsh reality. The orchestra were playing their souls out of their bodies, and this overwhelming sound was flowing round in the concert hall. There was hardly any stage direction because there wasn't the money to do it, so the illusion had to be created through painted canvas and through acting. I am fighting for the help to be able to preserve illusion and stimulate people and develop and cultivate that facility of illusion that makes life richer.


Artistic director Rambert Dance Company

IT WAS as a student of the Rambert in the late 50s and early 60s that I really formed my feelings about dance and choreography, which came out of the performances of the Rambert company, especially the works of Walter Gore and Anthony Tudor. I rarely had enough money to go and pay for tickets, but I was often given a free ticket to see Rambert, when it was at Richmond, Wimbledon, or Sadler's Wells. I joined the school when I was 13, and as a student, I was used as an extra. It wasn't a question of being stunned [by performances]; the Rambert triple bills took me into a succession of worlds that I found very stimulating. They set my imagination off and not only did I feel I wanted to dance and be part of this world created on the stage, but I wanted to create my own worlds. I started choreographing in 1967, and I'm still doing it. A lot of my inspiration came from literature, but I always enjoyed going to the theatre and concerts. If I hadn't gone into dance, I would have aimed for a career as an actor.