The Linguist

The Linguist 55,3

The Linguist is a languages magazine for professional linguists, translators, interpreters, language professionals, language teachers, trainers, students and academics with articles on translation, interpreting, business, government, technology

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Page 13 of 35 Celia Pond Miller tells Miranda Moore why languages are vital to her work managing the European Chamber Orchestra W hen cellist Celia Pond Miller established the European Chamber Orchestra (EUCO) with her husband Ambrose Miller, she knew that her language skills would come in handy. But she didn't quite imagine the extent to which she would need her French, German and Italian – from arguing with airport staff about why the neck of a double bass had fallen off to interpreting between French musicians and an East German musical director. The idea for a Europe-wide orchestra emerged soon after the couple met, while Pond was studying cello in Germany and Miller was Director of the Royal Ballet Orchestra. "We don't do things by halves," she laughs. They got married in 1981 and formed the EUCO that same year. "Our first leader was Italian and his wife, a viola player, was German, we had a Dutch player, and it grew from there." At first the Millers continued with their other work, organising tours with the EUCO on the side, but by 1985, it had become "all- consuming". In 1991, they secured funding from the European Commission and were soon doing 12 tours a year with 10-25 musicians. Beginning each tour with two days of rehearsals at the first location, they have performed in Thailand, South America, North Africa, India and the Middle East, as well as countries across Europe. Although funding from Brussels now comes only for occasional projects, the focus remains both on supporting young musicians and on being musical ambassadors for the EU. For Pond, it has been the perfect union of her passions for music, travel and language. Her love of the latter began at a young age, thanks to her physicist father – a musician and francophile, who arranged French lessons for his daughter when she was nine and sent her on a six-week home-stay in Paris aged 12. At school she was good at Latin but insisted on learning German for music reasons, instead of continuing with the Classics, and quickly fell in love with the language. "I had a marvellous German teacher, so inspirational. She took us, as a group of 17-year-olds, to Moscow on the train, and that's where the travel bug also set in." Pond spent her adolescence listening to romantic songs in German, and was always fascinated by music that used language – from Schubert's songs to operatic traditions from across Europe. Although she initially went to Cambridge to read music, which she describes as "a complete obsession", she soon converted to languages, studying German with Italian ab initio, and graduated with joint honours. University gave her "this wonderful block of study, with music tying up with language". Concerts in Italy and Harmony in Europe

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