The passing of conductor and music educator Richard Gill has left many of us who knew him (or been lucky to have worked with him) feeling like a light has been extinguished. Having sat over the last few days reading all the reflections of my colleagues and the wider community I was struck with the enormity of his reach: the love and gratitude with which people spoke of him, and his impact on their lives.
Whether you had worked under him as a student, as a colleague, in a choir, gone to one of his wonderful Ears Wide Open concerts with MSO or even seen him on Spicks & Specks – there was no doubt that for Richard, music was the summit of mankind’s achievements, and the effect it had on your life (whether you were a musician or not) was profound, everlasting and simply GOOD.
I’m sure many in the community who had the privilege of knowing Richard far more personally than I would be able to recount some amazing stories – but one I read over the weekend reminded me most strongly of his unique charm and wit (in this case to a room full of rowdy 8yr olds):
“Good morning boys and girls.
Today we are going to LISTEN.
If you are TALKING, you cannot LISTEN.
If you cannot LISTEN, you will miss out.
And you will miss out FOREVER,”
A room transformed to hushed silence.
If there is one legacy of this wonderful man that we can carry on, it is the power of music: its power to educate, transform, and fill us with wonder every day. Rest in peace, dear man.