Q: You’ve said that filming “Now Hear This” changed your mind about Bach. How so?
A: I think when you grow up as a musician, you think of Bach as a marble statute on your mother’s piano. And when you go visit where Bach was and you read his handwriting, and you see a business card that he writes for himself and includes a little musical puzzle, you realize that, actually, no. Bach was very much a man and very much he was a human. He had really human qualities. He just happened to be an astoundingly gifted genius. It makes him more approachable and also less approachable. That’s what I got out of filming the episode. I think that’s what the audience will get out of watching. This is just a fellow man, and you’re going to trace his journey with us, and you’re going to realize, “Wow! He was just one of us,” just really, really good.
Q: How did you get interested in music when you were a little boy? Did your mother have a bust of Bach on the piano?
A: My parents wanted me to go to Harvard, and judging from my fetal weight, they knew that I was not going to be a linebacker for Harvard’s football team. So they got me a violin, and I was terrible at it until about 5 years old. … And apparently at some point I started playing (the theme song for “Masterpiece Theater”) for my parents, and they were amazed that I could do that from ear. And then the violin kind of got out of control, out of hand. And I started taking it really seriously, and then they knew that I was probably not going to become a lawyer, like they wanted, but probably going to become a musician.
George Dickie has been a features writer for Gracenote/Tribune Media Services since 1989, when “Hee-Haw” was still on the air and George “Goober” Lindsay was his first interview. His early interviews ranged from Jim Henson and Dick Van Dyke to Phil Collins and the Dixie Chicks.