Formula 1, Goodwood, and good music

By Elina T. Htun | Goodwood is the stage of car racing and music, where the champions are challenging each other during the festival of speed in July, bringing together the heady mix of cars, stars, and motorsport “royalties”, followed in the fall by the revival, the glamour of motor racing of the past, the only historic race, meeting entirely in period dress, a tribute to the sport and Goodwood. Today we meet a man with two passions and one dream – the champion on the Goodwood music stage, Crispin Ward, a British International Orchestral conductor, composer, and professor. Crispin’s presence and performance with his orchestra at Goodwood had demonstrated that motor racing and music are so very linked. Let’s hear from the man himself.

From the earliest years, his two great loves of Formula 1 and music seemed rather incongruous, Crispin’s passion for all things automotive is reflected in some of the musical performances he undertakes. It is no surprise that for the maestro, this place had been and is his absolute favourite. We asked him how he feels being an active part of these important motorsport world events, Mr Ward replied: “There I am at the front steps of Goodwood, one of the most perfect grand houses in England, conducting my orchestra, as 50 Ferraris go past me, just feet away. Behind the wheels of these magnificent sounding machines are drivers who were my boyhood heroes: Sir Jackie Steward, Derek Bell, Jody Schechter, and so on, at that moment  I’m not sure which sound I prefer, Mozart or a Ferrari V8, or a 1920 Bentley & Lotus Cortina.”

Motorsports and music have many things in common: passion, flair, and dedication among them. “Racing is an art form,” Crispin suggests. “Expression of the human condition. You make connections and form bonds with your instrument in the same way you might with your car. There is fear and anticipation with just a hint of friendly rivalry; many of my closest friends are either car nuts or musicians.”

I am much better at conducting an orchestra – then I can go as fast as I like without killing anyone.

“Music has given me the opportunity to meet and speak with many famous drivers, celebrities and members of the royal family. I have noticed that, almost always, people at the very top of their profession are delightful, kind, and generous with their time. Their passion and enthusiasm is potent, infectious, inspirational, and that flowering of excellence is a real inspiration to my music making,” Crispin explains. He’s happy that he had chosen music over motor racing at some point, but he added: “The problem is that although I love it, I’m really not very good at driving fast. I am much better at conducting an orchestra – then I can go as fast as I like without killing anyone [laughs].”

“I have driven the Goodwood historic circuit and it’s an absolute joy. I managed to scare myself in a Lamborghini Hurricane when I went a bit sideways coming out of the Levant Corner. The Levant Straight that follows it was so much fun though! My son asked me how fast I went; no idea, I had no time to check,” Mr Ward remembers.

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