August 15, 2020

Sports BBC presenter says music helped her ‘to live’ after brain haemorrhage


sports Clemency Burton-Hill

BBC presenter Clemency Burton-Hill has spoken about how tune has helped her get better from a first-rate mind haemorrhage.

The 39-yr-veteran Radio 3 host underwent emergency mind surgical plot after she collapsed in Recent York in January.

Months later, she says tune has played a key aim, as she re-learns how to state and move.

“Typically it is the instruct that gives me solace,” she says. “And in most cases it be the instruct that helps me to gain up, and fight, and to are living.”

“It is the closing motivation,” Clemmie – as she is identified by her friends and colleagues – told buddy and journalist Sophie Elmhirst.

The presenter, who is in the relieve of Radio 3’s award-winning Classical Repair programme, as neatly as a well-liked face on the BBC’s Proms coverage, is in the present day living in Recent York where she is inventive director at WQXR, the Recent York public radio classical tune assign of abode.

On the originate of the yr, she suffered an enormous mind haemorrhage precipitated by a previously undiagnosed condition: an arteriovenous malformation (AVM), an irregular and atypical cluster of blood vessels meshing the arteries and veins in her mind.

It goes to additionally enjoy been fatal.

Because it’s, clinical doctors removed half of her skull all over emergency surgical plot at Mount Sinai West sanatorium in Recent york, and she became unconscious for 17 days. Nobody became sure how a lot of her mind would get better.

At some level of those early days, tune played on a speaker by her sanatorium bed – the playlist compiled by her family.

Earlier than she confirmed any signal of consciousness, British opera singer Andrew Staples – a shut buddy who became performing in Recent York when the presenter collapsed – remembers her left foot tapping along to some Brahms.

“I consider it struck me as a non-standard portion to encourage toe-tapping,” Staples remembers.

Image caption

Clemmie, photographed in July 2020 in downtown Recent york

A week or so later, perfect as clinical doctors enjoy been taking out the tubes that had in the origin aided her breathing, belief to be one of Burton-Hill’s favourite pieces of tune, Richard Strauss’s Morgen, took express to play thru the speaker.

“With her appropriate hand she grabbed my wrist as I leant over her shaven head, and I sang the phrases to her,” says Staples. “We both cried loads. I wasn’t terrorized from then on about whether she became ‘in there’ anymore.”

While she will not consider that moment, Burton-Hill remembers how she appeared as if it would manufacture a set of whether to provide up or to are living perfect as she became regaining consciousness.

“It became actually: I’m able to live this, I will gain thru this,” she says now. “Tune is the reverse of despair. It became going to be fee the fight.”

Sports ‘Ambidexterous’

As her restoration stepped up, buddy and eminent violinist Nicola Benedetti came to consult with and together they play Bach, with Burton-Hill – herself a violin soloist – playing the left hand on the violin and Benedetti bowing. Astonishingly, the broadcaster aloof recalled the complete notes.

“It be a clichéd blueprint that tune is previous language,” she says, “nonetheless from what I’ve skilled in my possess mind, I in actuality know that now.”

Gradually, language and accelerate enjoy begun to attain relieve regardless of the barriers to restoration thrown up by the coronavirus pandemic.

“I surely mediate tune is a ingredient of my restoration because it makes exhaust of all sides of the mind,” says Burton-Hill.

“It be as if it trains your mind to be ambidextrous.”

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