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 14 of 35 JUNE/JULY 2016 The Linguist 15 further music study in Germany helped to hone her skills in Italian and German, and by the time she established the EUCO, she could speak four languages almost fluently. Making music This was particularly important in the early days of the EUCO, when knowledge of English was less common among the musicians. At the time, German was the unofficial language of the orchestra (it is now English), and the EUCO began working with East German directors around 1990, after the fall of the Berlin Wall. "There were one or two people who didn't understand a word of German and the directors would struggle to present their views, how they wanted it all done," says Pond. A public funding requirement ensures that the orchestra always includes at least eight nationalities, but today English is more widely spoken among musicians, and the current director is trilingual in English, German and French. "For the Italians who used to play with us 20 years ago it was a bit of a struggle, but now it's much easier for them. The French players still don't speak much English, so I continue to interpret between French and English," she adds. Another change is the frequency and duration of the tours – from 12 a year at the height of the EUCO's activities to a more manageable four annual tours. Although auditions focus on a player's musical ability and style of playing, stamina and a willingness to travel were particularly important for tours with performances every other night, and sometimes nightly. "As we travelled so much, it was important to know people's characters: whether they were going to survive these travels – and many didn't," says Pond. "I always found it terribly useful to speak in their language if you wanted to find out about them. It's important to know what other people are saying – slight, subtle differences – and because speaking English was, for them, difficult, they wouldn't really show me what they were like." Tricky conversations The EU's orchestras are seen as 'cultural ambassadors', performing at ambassadorial functions, cultural forums and information days, and this has been the EUCO's mainstay. "In 2004, we got sent, as an uncontroversial thing, to the new member states," Pond recalls."We were, in effect, a mini propaganda machine: people from different EU countries working together, integrated – a good example of how it all works." In-country planning, such as venue hire, was usually taken care of by the European delegation at each destination, but other administrative and organisational duties, such as booking hotels and flights, fall to Pond and Miller. This can mean dealing with agencies and service providers in their own languages, and in-country complications that require a high level of fluency at times. When instruments are damaged, for example (something which happens surprisingly often), a hire instrument has to be arranged at every concert venue. Since 2001, just getting a double bass onto an aeroplane has involved quite subtle negotiations. It became impossible to take larger instruments on as hand luggage, leading to an incident in which the double bass player opened his case to find that the neck had fallen off, so they started buying seats for the instruments. Such operational needs led Pond to learn Spanish while on tour in South America. "The European delegations there, who were our hosts, functioned in English (just about) but somebody had to deal with big instruments at the airport," she explains. Throughout Pond's life, language and music have converged – a synthesis she sees as quite natural. "Music is a language," she explains. "Because it has a scripture structure (notation); because of the rhythm and the different tones; and emotionally. It's a direct communication through sound, and I often think about this: the presentation of music, uncontroversially, as a vehicle for expression." You sense that this desire to communicate with others is what fuels Celia's passion for both language and music. Her pianist sister also studied in Germany, and she believes they "had this instinctive feeling that it was going to be good for us." In Celia's case, it has been the backbone of the EUCO – the thing, along with her drive and musical knowledge – that has made it all possible. ON TOUR The EUCO performs at The Hague (above); Celia Pond Miller (inset); and the players with their instruments in Barnstaple (left) Since 2001, just getting a double bass onto an aeroplane has involved quite subtle negotiations CELIA FOWEY

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