18 Questions for Clancy Newman

Clancy Newman — cellist, composer, honorary Taiwanese, and friend of Formosa — lives in Philadelphia with his wife, real-estate developer and harpist Angel Lin. He joins Formosa & Chicago Chamber Musicians in the Mendelssohn Octet this Sunday April 2 at NU's Galvin Hall.

FQ  How can someone get you to dance? 

CN  Maybe with some sort of gene-splicing technology to alter my DNA. 


FQ  What’s your greatest fear? 

CN  Dancing. 


FQ  What qualities do you most admire in a person? 

CN  Big-heartedness and eccentricity.  


FQ  If you were running for President of the United States, whom would you pick as Vice President? 

CN  My cello.


FQ  What was the first musical composition you ever wrote? 

CN  It was called Doretso in G, and I was seven years old. It wasn’t in G. 


FQ  Which classical music composer would enjoy Jimi Hendrix? 

CN  Bartok.


FQ  What's your most vivid memory of playing with Formosa? 

CN  One thing came to mind, but I feel like it shouldn't be put in print... I also remember the feats involving — what was it we were throwing? And trying to catch in our mouths? 

FQ  The grapes! 

CN  Yeah. I remember missing badly but also being triumphant in my second attempt. 

FQ  In catching or throwing? 

CN  I actually can’t remember now. I remember it was extraordinarily large distances. 


FQ  What does Taiwan conjure up in your mind?

CN  It makes my stomach grumble.


FQ  What are some of the outstanding dishes you had there?

CN  牛肉麵 [Beef noodle soup]. 麵很Q [The noodles were al dente], the broth was just delicious, and the meat just sort of fell apart. It was... so good.


FQ  What one thing must one do in Melbourne? 

CN  Go on the Great Ocean Road. 


FQ  What was your first thought when you woke up on your wedding day? 

CN  I didn’t wake up because I hadn’t slept the night before. 


FQ  Do you know any tongue-twisters in Mandarin? 

CN  Everything is a tongue-twister to me.  


FQ  Is superstitiousness an indication of ignorance? 

CN  I would say yes, it is an indication of ignorance with a lower-case “i”, but not an indication of ignorance with an upper-case “I”. 


FQ  What’s the secret to happiness? 

CN  Distraction. 


FQ  Do you still have a thing against spinach on pizzas? 

CN  It has its place, if they don’t have sauce on them.


FQ  Tell us about Pita Inn in Skokie. 

CN  How can I say this? [pause] There are two kinds of people in this world: those who like Pita Inn, and degenerates. 


FQ  Does Wayne like it?

CN  No.

Formosa Quartet and Clancy will have lunch at Pita Inn this week, when Wayne will have another chance to prove that he is not a degenerate. Good luck, Wayne.


Clancy and Formosa at Pita Inn

Clancy and Formosa at Pita Inn

Clancy and his wife Angel on Great Ocean Road in Melbourne

Clancy and his wife Angel on Great Ocean Road in Melbourne