Monday, November 28, 2005

David Robertson, Alex Ross, And The Future (Multi-Racial) Faces Of Classical Music Performers And Audiences In America

"One recent morning, David Robertson, the vigorous new music director of the St. Louis Symphony, stood up in front of eighteen hundred schoolchildren in Powell Hall, the orchestra’s home, to present a Young People’s Concert. “My name is David,” he said, in a mellifluous, singsong baritone. He introduced the instruments of the orchestra and picked out some themes from the morning’s selections, the Prelude to Bizet’s “Carmen” and scenes from Prokofiev’s “Romeo and Juliet.” He spoke earnestly at first, but an off-the-wall sensibility crept in. During the performance of “Romeo,” the conductor, who is forty-seven years old, encouraged his listeners to stamp on the floor to the thudding strong beats of the Dance of the Knights. He also proposed that a trombone figure represented Mrs. Capulet, “who’s really big, and she’s saying, ‘Where’s the food?,’ and when she finds these little tiny sandwiches she gets really, really mad.” If Lorin Maazel has this side to him, we haven’t seen it yet.

Robertson’s next appointment on this busy day was with fourteen children at Dunbar Elementary School, on the run-down north side of St. Louis. Still in high spirits, he led a sing-along and read aloud from a story about a mole: “ ‘I want to make beautiful music, too,’ Mole said to himself.” Deborah Bloom, a violinist with the St. Louis Symphony, supplied musical illustrations, culminating in the “Ode to Joy.”

By 4 P.M., Robertson was at the Pulitzer Foundation for the Arts, a museum featuring modern art owned by the Pulitzer family, rehearsing an all-twentieth-century chamber program." ...

Alex Ross "Musical Events. The Evangelist: David Robertson lifts up the St. Louis Symphony" The New Yorker November 28, 2005. (December 5, 2005 issue)

California Oakland Paramount Theater, 1920s

Home of Michael Morgan and the Oakland/ East Bay Symphony Orchestra and Chorus.

Photo credit: © david sanger photography / Alamy Ltd.


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