Interview with Michael Collins

Michael Collins, a prominent British clarinetist, who took part in a concert to commemorate the victims of the Beslan school siege, joined Russia Today to speak on the Beslan tragedy.

Russia Today: You debuted at Carnegie Hall at 22, and you have played at some of the world’s most prestigious halls. How did it happen that you play tonight here in Beslan?
 
Michael Collins: Well, the conductor, Maestro Pletnev, is a very good friend of mine, we have been working together for the last 25 years in fact, and he asked me quite a while ago if I would like to take part in this concert. And I’ve said “of course, I’d be honoured”. That’s how I came about – really quite simple.
 
RT: We spoke with Maestro Pletnev earlier today, and he said that he has specially chosen compositions with a mix of tragic and lighter music. Tell us more about what you will perform?
 
M.C.: I will actually be playing two movements from a clarinet concerto by Mozart and I think we are going to start the whole concert with this amazing slow sad movement. Well, it may be wrong to use the word “sad” – I mean it is a very sad piece of music, very melancholic and full of heart-felt moments, and it’s’ probably a very fitting way to start this concert.
 
RT: Mikhail Pletnev also said that there will be some specially chosen light music, that would strengthen the people who lived through this tragedy?
 
M.C.: I agree. It would be wrong to play the whole concert with sad and tragic music. There will be some lighter moments so that the audience can have all sorts of different thoughts actually: sad ones, looking into the future happier ones. It will be a good mixture.
 
RT: You have been here in Beslan yesterday during the minute of silence held at the exact time when the first explosions came three years ago. Could you tell more about it?
 
M.C.: I still haven’t quite recovered. It was one of the… I never felt like this in my life. I saw it every day in London in the news, and having actually stand on that spot – I don’t have words for it. It was overwhelming and very upsetting.