The “TS” of this page is my brother-in-law, Tony Staveacre. Tony features in RHODcast number 2, together with the actor and comedian Les Dennis, with whom he collaborated on the drama “Jigsy” about another funny man, Jackie Hamilton. Tony is many things; BBC TV and radio arts producer, with 485 hours of programming credits; the author of four books, including “Slapstick”, his copiously illustrated story of knockabout British comedy with an unforgettable picture of Marty Feldman on the front; biographer of PG Wodehouse for BBC Radio 4, inter alia The Wodehouse Notebooks with the late lamented John Bird; and presenter of the BBC Radio 2 Arts Programme. Never ask him which major British TV personalities he discovered, or you’ll be there all night. He plays a dazzling array of musical instruments, and well, although none of them as well as his friend Allan Schiller. I asked Tony to introduce Allan and his memoir, Music Made Me.
In July 1989 the Argentine composer Astor Piazzolla flew from Berlin to Bristol, UK, at the invitation of a BBC producer. Tony Staveacre was convinced that Piazzolla would make an excellent subject, and so it turned out. One July night, Piazzolla and his sextet played a memorable set before an invited studio audience. He also sat for an interview and talked frankly with Tony about the troubled birth of the musical form he invented – New Tango. It was to be his last public conversation, and never broadcast. Here is that interview for the first time, stirringly illustrated from the sextet session – more than thirty years since Piazzolla’s death.
ALLAN SCHILLER launched his professional career as a concert pianist at the age of nine, playing Haydn’s D major Concerto with the Yorkshire Symphony Orchestra at Leeds Town Hall. He went on to make his name as a soloist, playing for audiences near and far with great international orchestras. In this second part of “Music Made Me” we can hear a shy and gifted young student grow into his illustrious career while coming to terms with life in 1960s U.S.S.R.
ALLAN SCHILLER is a modest maestro, acclaimed in The Guardian as the best Mozart interpreter of his generation. Now aged 80, and still playing his Steinway for several hours a day in his Bristol home, he has taken time out to write and record an account of his life in music. Here it is, read by the author, who also provides the elegant musical illustrations.