What piece of art changed your life? How did it affect you?
I don't recall ever having a moment of Pauline conversion as a result of a piece of art, but I guess this, from a long way back, counts. When I was 11 or 12, I sang in the choir at my prep (junior) school, as a treble of course. At Corpus Christi we went up to the main school, just down the road, to sing the "Hallelujah Chorus" from the choir loft. It was the first time I'd experienced the sound of tenors and basses around me in a choir, and I thought it was FANTASTIC! It was the first time I'd felt the tingle down the spine feeling of doing something musical that's real, and really now. These days, I'm a bit of an old lag, obviously, but I can still remember that excitement. I had no idea at the time, of course, that I'd be given the grace and privilege to spend a working life in music.
Peter Hammill's legendary prog-rock band, Van der Graaf Generator, plays the Rams Head in Annapolis on July 1st. Cult favorites with a fanatical following, the band has performed only a few times in the States, so this is a rare opportunity to catch a truly iconoclastic, adventurous, and bold group. An acquired taste, perhaps, but so is Ornette Coleman and Moondog. You'd be hard pressed to find a more intense—and intensely rewarding—listening experience.