Outside of his job at the CPO, David Langford enjoys spending time with his family, walking on Table Mountain, the ocean and playing chamber music with friends.
“Music speaks to everyone,” says the CPO’s sub-principal trombone and bass trombone. David Langford. “Don’t give music labels because… it’s always relevant.” Then there’s his honesty. “I am sceptical of people who say they knew from an early age that music is their passion. I came slowly to the realization that I couldn’t live without music.” Its thoughts such as these that make David a really interesting young man!
He wasn’t born into a musical family but, was tested for musical aptitude at school when he was 10 years old and given the opportunity to study music. “I may have chosen the trumpet but so many kids wanted the trumpet that they said that with my large lips, I was “ideally suited” to play the euphonium, so I did. It was when I left Port Elizabeth for UCT that I picked up the trombone … then the bass trombone, sort of filling in the gaps at South African College of music as required. I remember a particular chart with the UCT Big Band under the direction Mike Campbell, “Attack of the Killer Tomatoes”, which had some nasty notes for the euphonium player masquerading as a bass trombonist! Mike’s expectant, confused gaze as no notes came out of the instrument in a particularly exposed part has stayed with me. In 2008 I graduated, and in 2009 an opportunity opened up in the CPO and that’s when I really began to learn to play the bass trombone! Sean Kierman, my UCT lecturer, had always encouraged me to be a multi instrumentalist and I will always be thankful for that and other wisdom! The challenge of playing the trombone for me is to get it to sound pretty, like the euphonium, an instrument people tend to turn their noses up about because they don’t know what it is!”
But it was only in 2015 when he took a year off to become a brewer that he actually realised how much he missed it and that actually it is really what he wants to do! “There are better ways to make a living but I would rather play music for a stipend than chose another life.”
The orchestra has become his family. “You meet quirky people who couldn’t exist outside an orchestra, an environment where their abilities are embraced. They are special people and we have special relationships because of the life we live. Many don’t follow the normal path of having 2.7 kids or whatever it is. They don’t want to do anything else but music and we have a responsibility towards what we do. We are all conscious of this and respect this as we perform, week in and week out.
He has taught and would like to teach again. “Brass is very rewarding, very approachable. You can play a tune after an hour unlike string instruments when you take years to be able to play Hot Cross Buns!”
In his spare time, he is a gardener, a nature lover, a cook and a petrol head but with a car and bike out of action he takes the MyCity bus from his home in Hout Bay to work and enjoys interacting with the people on the bus, noting the changing demographics as the bus gets closer to town.
First of all, taking the bus is cheaper and means he has money for two extra beers each time he takes it. Secondly, it’s a good excuse to avoid people when he veers towards being a hermit, and thirdly and conversely he loves the social interaction, becoming part of the bigger picture and learning about people and their lives. “More people should try this,” he advises. In his case, of course, his trombone case is an instant conversation starter and he encourages people across the generations and cultures to come to the City Hall. “Drop them into the City Hall and they will be moved by a Tchaikovsky,” he says. “The more one learns about music the more rewarding it becomes, like taking your first sip of wine or coffee, its something that just gets better the more you try and the more you immerse yourself in it.” This is one reason why he finds the CPO’s schools concerts so rewarding. In OPUS.