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It's not easy to nab an interview with R. Murray Schafer. I've tried a couple of times over the past 25 years, only to eventually see each booking crash and burn.
The first time was back in 1987, after Schafer was awarded the first Glenn Gould Prize given for a lifetime's contribution to the arts. I was working on the network show "Morningside" hosted by Peter Gzowski and had, naively, or arrogantly, come to assume every Canadian musician would be happy to get a call to come on the show.
Not Mr. Schafer.
I was told by the nervous publicist that he would do it, but he expected to get paid.
"But he just got $50,000," I replied, thinking (again, naively or arrogantly) that it was about the money.
I explained that we didn't pay for interviews.
Crash and burn.
Fast forward thirteen years. I was working on the network show "This Morning" hosted then by Shelagh Rogers. A publicist approached me – very excited, as I remember – to book an interview with Schafer.
"But will it actually happen?" I asked her.
"It will, it will," she said.
So when the young freelance producer Andrew O'Connor proposed a documentary focusing on Schafer's groundbreaking work in acoustic ecology and the brilliant Patria series, the big question was, "But can you get an interview with Murray Schafer?"
And he did.
The results are part of this week's fascinating documentary on the much celebrated (especially this year as he turns 80!) Canadian composer, writer, music educator and environmentalist. A more charming, articulate and down-to-earth person you will rarely meet.
R. Murray Schafer: King of Canadian classical hit parade
Esprit Orchestra toasts Murray Schafer