The Ealing Guitar Society is grateful to Therese Wassily Saba, the New Editor of Classical Guitar magazine, who has graciously agreed to interview William Starling about his book. She will explore how he came to write it, what inspired him to take the approach he chose, and what challenges he faced in writing the biography of such an eminent musician. William has given talks to a number of guitar societies and writers’ clubs including a recent event at the Sibelius Academy in Helsinki. He can be expected to give frank insights into his work and John’s life and to use photographs, many unpublished, to illustrate the subject. He will also talk about the reaction to the book by both the guitar world and John’s wider audience.
The audience will be welcome to participate by asking questions and commenting on John and his biography.
This is an unusual and special event and promises to be an informative and lively evening.
Copies of ‘Strings Attached – The Life and Music of John Williams’ will be on sale at the event.
Starling was not the most obvious candidate to become John’s choice as his biographer, a role that many have coveted. Although William has, to use his words, ‘dabbled with guitar for nearly fifty years’, he makes no claim to be a musician nor did particularly he consider himself to be a writer - his career was as an engineer and designer in the automotive industry and he had written nothing similar before. In fact, although had penned works on guitar design and the philosophy of failure, his longest work to date had been his PhD thesis in Cybernetics! Having been a friend of John Williams for some time, he convinced the guitarist that a biography was overdue and, having accepted that contention, Williams put his trust in his friend to write it. Several years of extensive research ensued and numerous interviews were conducted including some with important contributors in Australia, the country of John’s birth.
William Starling says that his task was made easier by the great esteem in which his subject is held; interviews that he thought would be extremely difficult to secure were granted willingly by friends, relatives and musical colleagues of John Williams.
The book was written for all who admire or might be interested in John’s life and some within the classical guitar world have taken exception to this approach. Starling has no regrets – “This is the story of the making of an intelligent, complex, compassionate and enormously accomplished man who happens to be one of the finest and most celebrated musicians of his generation’.