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Culture vulture

From fiddle to fugue,if it involves music, Nigel Hayward is interested

Favourite Reading

I'm not a constant reader but I like books that give insight into the arts.

I've just finished Girl with a Pearl Earring by Tracy Chevalier, which was very good on art and period atmosphere. I was impressed by Vikram Seth's An Equal Music. It's about a doomed love affair and is woven into the lives and work of a professional string quartet which is recording Bach's "Art of Fugue". The intense world of the musician is brilliantly and realistically portrayed.

Favourite film

We have an excellent film club which shows films - often wacky and off-beat - fortnightly through the winter. I enjoyed Cold Mountain (starring Jude Law, pictured) when I visited Edinburgh before Christmas. Readers who imagine Shetland as a backwater might be surprised to hear that the new Harry Potter film was screened here three days before the rest of the UK.


We took a school outing recently to a theatre in Lerwick to see the Catherine Wheels production of Lifeboat, with Suzanne Robertson and Isabelle Jones - the true story of two young evacuees en route to Canada in the Second World War. A rare treat theatrically and educationally with its meticulously observed wartime detail.

Favourite Music

Much of my favourite music is what I play on piano. I am practising Bach's "The Art of Fugue". To the casual listener this can seem dry and academic, but there is something fascinating and meditative about this wonderful and enormous collection. For passive listening, Rachmaninov's orchestral music holds a strong appeal.

Inspirational visit

My wife Deirdre (who conducts the choir at Anderson high school, Lerwick) and I took Sandwick's girls' choir, with a local Shetland fiddle group, to Bergen in June for a week of concerts and culture with Norwegian children.

Traditional dance is considered cool by young Norwegians, which was an eye-opener for our pupils.

Nigel Hayward, 57, is teacher in charge of music at Sandwick junior high, an 11-16 secondary on the Shetland Islands. He is a pianist who plays bassoon, trumpet, viola, guitar, clarinet - taking up whatever is in short supply on the islands, where music is flourishing. He was talking to Elaine Williams

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