John Bavicchi interview

Interviewee biography: 

John Bavicchi (1922-2012) graduated from the New England Conservatory of Music with a Bachelor of Music Degree. In 1964, he came to Berklee College of Music and cofounded the Composition department with Bill Maloof. Bavicchi’s compositions have been published by Oxford University Press, Renfrew Press, BJK Publications, Neil Kjos, and Ensemble Publications. He has received numerous ASCAP Awards for Composition, as well as the National Institute of Arts and Letters Award in recognition of his creative work in music.


FB: Are the conducting class...ah..uh..departments, are they side by side -

JB:No, the conducting is part of the always has been.

FB: Oh, Okay.

JB:Ah.. um.. the composition department as we knew it when I was here ... has become vulcanized to some extent.. I'm not quite sure home many different things there are .. I mean. There's a songwriting department now, there's an ear training department now.. for all I know there's a conducting department.. I don't know.

FB: It all came out of the original composition department.

JB: Yes Yeah.. see at that time ...that I was here.. or that I came here.I should say. There was composition, and ah.. performance, and ah .. music education.. three degrees. because there were only three degress possible.

FB: John what are some of your fondest memories of performances at Berklee.
Or-or symphony hall,-

jB: You mean performances of my muisic?

FB: Yours and others. -some of the things that.

JB: One of the fondest memories I had was Dean Plachek and Dean Anderson, and sharon baker doing my Fragments from Vega.- With .ah .. Trombone, and percussion, and singer.. I wrote it for Tenor or Soprano. -And she was a good .. very good soprano, who sang it. and ah .. - I convinced -you know .. Tom Plachek asked me to write him a piece, and you know I .told him. - You know, could I write him a ... real trombone piece with all the tricks in it, and I said sure, and so we gradually got around this piece, and I guess he's told you that he'd never worked so hard in his life.-

FB:He told me that he came over to your house to show you his techincal ability and that you got him drunk on ..ah...Puta Mess and some O da Vi, an by the fourth or fifth drink he was so shitfaced that he could barely get his horn out of the case.

JB: Yeah but he could play,


JB: You know in that piece I had the trombonist, while the singer and the percussionist are farting around, I had the trombonist unscrew the thing from the bell and put the mouth piece in the bell, and blow the bell like a bugle, and ah, I had to figure out what the bugle calls were with a trigger or without a trigger of the bugle calls .. it was fun..

So you were able to write, personalized music for a lot of people on the staff, I mean Phill Wilson would never pull his horn apart would he?

JB: Well, we didn't need to .. he would have ..sure .. Im sure if.. if .. he would have one all set up on the side..

He got to improvise his whole piece ...the fusions peice..

JB: Yeah.. I mean ..with know Phill.. I mean Phil played for me at the ..with the Philharmonic, - he came in and played trombone a couple of times when I didn't have a trombonist, and ah.. but you know, Phil has his own style, and I wasn't gonna interfere with that, so what I set up in that piece was a series of .. ostanati in whiich he shows off on both.. and he shows off very well.

Right. .Pappy Wilson, I saw her yesterday, she said to say hello. -and she said that she learned a lot playing piano for .a

JB: Yeah she was my accompanist for many years in the chorus.

Um.. lets talk about choral music a little bit..I love singing in choruses, you've alwys had a good bunch of singers to work with here at Berklee..

JB: No. I've never done anything at Berklee with a chorus.

Not here.. okay..

JB: No but a.. ahh .. if they'd asked me I probaly would have ..but no it never came up . But with the Arlington philharmonic and the Belmont Chourus and Dedham Chorus, and the Canton Chorus, and what the hell else I conducted, ah.. I conducted -I conducted, ah. - the ah.. Lemuel C Shaddok nurses chorus, I had so many conducting jobs it was rediculous.- Yeah when I was .. My first few years at Berklee, I held a lot of those side jobs. -

Um over seventy years of sitting up in the second Balcony at Symphony Hall, you must have had some performances that knocked your socks off. -I've made a list of my own here, I'm just wondering what yours were.

JB: Well, .. cause the first one ..Bellange and Kosoviski.
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