Michael Tilson Thomas & the San Francisco Orchestra are coming to Urbana in a few weeks, and I'm starting to get excited for their performance. It was a little serendipitous when this interview with him appeared in my inbox, via my dad. It's a little fluffy, but there are some things that I like that he says. I wish I had the time to sit down with him for even five minutes; I could think of at least ten questions immediately.
One of my central maxims is how a major part of what a conductor tries to do is get a large group of people to agree on where "now" actually is.
The real deep text of music and the whole reason that it has continued with the profundity and urgency that it has for over a thousand years, has to do with what the notes say, what the notes witness, different experiences of hope or doubt that people are able to distill and encode and pass on in this way ... If you're alive, you have all the experience necessary to understand classical music.
I also stumbled upon a radio show that MTT has done. The MTT Files are produced with American Public Media and, in addition to the great Keeping the Score series, are must-listens. It's reassuring that there are conductors who are still carrying the torch lit by Bernstein and working to educate people about music, and who also aren't afraid of experimenting with new media and new forms of communication.
As a side note, here are two new-ish "operas" you should probably know about
- NPR Music, who have a major crush on Justin Vernon, have an article on a new version of the opera Orpheus.
- And if you haven't check it out or heard of it, read up on and listen to Eric Whitacre's Paradise Lost: Shadows and Wings. If you're in NYC this summer, see it at Carnegie Hall. Sleep My Child is available on iTunes.