This much I know: Barry Douglas, pianist

Barry Douglas

Growing up I was more on the shy side, but music enabled me to find a great way of self-expression.

My first ambition was to become a long distance truck driver.

But from the age of about 14 music enmeshed me and then I was hooked for life. I thought of doing medicine for a brief period of five minutes when I was 12, but from then on my life was consumed by studying, listening, researching music.

I’m not really from a musical background. My mother, who was from Sligo, was an amateur pianist but it was me who arranged the musical invasion in the house.

My earliest memory is bringing my baby sister home in the back of the Mini with no seat belt on. She was sitting on my knee. I was three years old.

Work and life are inextricably linked but with a little bit of planning, anything is possible.

I work best in the morning, so I can spend time with family and friends later on. But when I’m on tour it’s pretty much 24/7 work.

I’m lazy by nature, so I force myself to be disciplined.

I’ve received so much good advice over the years - people love giving advice. My aunt used to say that life is not a rehearsal. That’s one of my favourites.

The trait I most admire in other people is being able to relax.

My main fault is getting stressed far too easily.

My idea of happiness is sitting in Provence with a glass of Rosé wine and reading a good book. I rather like Sligo also, and spend as much time as I can there.

My idea of misery is when there is a chain reaction of travel chaos and I miss my rehearsal.

If I could be reborn as someone else for a day I’d be either a very famous Hollywood star or a very relaxed sheep farmer in Donegal.

If money wasn’t an issue - I’d spend it.

If I could change one thing in Irish society I’d enhance education so that every single person would have a fair chance in life.

My biggest challenge in life so far has been making sure I was in the right country when my children were born.

If I could pass on one piece of advice about life to the next generation I’d tell them all not to take life too seriously. And, try to say and do something original every day.

My greatest fear is that I might get some horrible debilitating illness, but we can all learn from challenges in our lives and I’m a great admirer of people who have fought the roll of the dice that has been dealt them.

I’m both a lark and an owl - I go through periods when I stay up late, and I go through periods when I like to work very early in the morning.

When I was in school, I wish we could have been taught a better working knowledge of how civic society operates and how to deal with the administrative side of life and how to conduct ourselves when going for job interviews. Those areas are better addressed now, I think.

I do believe that something is possible after we die, some kind of after life. I guess that is an easier question for people who have great religious faith though.

So far life taught me how to discover the incredible joy and intricacy of being a human being.

Every day, whether challenging or not, brings something from which we can learn or by which we can be strengthened.

Barry Douglas is Artist-in-Residence at CIT Cork School of Music and will be performing at the West Cork Chamber Music Festival in and around the town of Bantry from June 30 to July 8.

On Thursday July 6 he plays the Beethoven Piano Trio No.2 in G major Op. 1/2 alongside Viviane Hagner and Johannes Moser and in St Brendan’s Church.

On Friday, July 7 he performs the Beethoven Piano Trio No. 3 in C minor Op.1/3, also alongside Viviane Hagner and Johannes Moser.

On Saturday July 8 at 8pm he is in Bantry House, performing Penderecki Sextet for Clarinet, horn, string trio and piano, alongside Christoffer Sundqvist, Hervé Joulain, Miranda Cuckson, Pavel Nikl and Anja Lechner.

Full details or LoCall 1850 788 789


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