Monthly Blog


  • JUNE 2007

    Two years have past since we launched this site providing immediate access to an array of information pertaining to my concerts, recordings and activities, yet it does not seem complete without your first finding a greeting or note of welcome from me. So, here’s my first try at it.

    Let me thank all of you who have visited. This is the place to look when you want to find out where I will be performing. For the most part, it is accurate. The venues, programs and soloists are all here. And when there is some news, we share it with you as soon as possible.

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  • JULY 2007

    The month of June has been quite exciting for me. First, we wrapped up the subscription season of the NSO with the premiere of a harp concerto. The soloist was the orchestra’s principal harpist, Dotian Levalier, who played with great feeling and panache. The piece is by Mark Adamo, who is primarily known as an opera composer. The lyrical elements would certainly bear out his reputation in this field, but his use of the orchestra was outstanding, and I believe many harpists will want to take up the work.

    The following week saw the conclusion of the eighth National Conducting Institute. The four conductors who debuted with the orchestra each showed flair and talent. It still amazes me that different musicians can stand before the orchestra and each one produces his or her own sound. The more individual the conductor, the more personal that sound can be. It also provides the players with a keener understanding of the inner workings of the conductor’s art.

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  • AUGUST 2007

    Greetings from Aspen, Colorado! It is lovely here, as usual, but with a bit more rain that expected.

    July turned out to be a very exciting month. In my position as Principal Guest Conductor of the Los Angeles Philharmonic at the Hollywood Bowl (a Guinness record for length of titled position), I spend almost three weeks in Los Angeles. This was my hometown and the Bowl was where my father performed for many years. So it is always a treat to return to the orchestra I grew up with.

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  • SEPTEMBER 2007

    The summer season is winding down and orchestras all over the world are gearing up for a busy fall.

    For me, most of August was spent in Aspen, Colorado. Having been a student there from 1964, I have certainly seen not only the city, but the School and Festival change dramatically. What were once small, intimate and quiet entities are now players on the world stage. During the course of nine weeks, one can see and hear most of the great artists of our time.

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    Originally, I had only planned to write once a month, summarizing activities that had occurred previously. But the first few weeks of September have had a couple of nice surprises that I felt were worth sharing early.

    The recording industry has been in something of a downturn, but there are signs that the situation may be improving. I certainly cannot complain. During the 80’s and early 90’s, my own discography usually saw 5 to 6 discs a year being issued. But recently, I have been quite active both in the recording studio and through archival material.

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  • OCTOBER 2007

    By now, most of you will have learned of my recent appointment as Music Director of the Detroit Symphony. Between the positions that I am completing and the ones that are coming up, it is even confusing to me. So let’s summarize.

    I have just ended my three-year stint at the Hollywood Bowl; my 12-year tenure with the National Symphony ends this June; last year was my first as Principal Guest Conductor of London’s Royal Philharmonic (four weeks a year); I just began my semester residency at Indiana University (two weeks per year); and, next September, I become Music Director in Detroit (14-16 weeks) and Principal Guest Conductor of the Pittsburgh Symphony (three or four weeks).

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  • NOVEMBER 2007

    Well, October was certainly a busy month. In Washington, at the NSO, we began the subscription season. Beethoven 9 was up first. It is amazing how my thoughts of this work have changed over the years. Time was when the last movement was the only one worth listening to. But now, the drama and tension of the first, the sarcasm and explosiveness of the Scherzo, and the joyous cry of thanksgiving in the slow movement take me to places much closer to the composers intentions. And that Finale still is not bad.

    We also premiered a new piece by Jefferson Friedman, a composer I have been interested in for the past four years. Very bright and concerned with the representation of outsider art. The visuals come to life in his music, which is a blend of exotic sounds and hymn tunes. Hard to categorize his works, but look for his name.

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  • DECEMBER 2007

    Another whirlwind month has come to a close. There are times when I am not sure that it is possible to keep up with the calendar. And traveling these days is certainly not one of life’s greatest pleasures.

    The first two weeks of November were spent with the Royal Philharmonic. For the first time in my career, I did a concert at Albert Hall in London which was not a Prom. To fill the 5,000+ seating area, the programs have to be more popular than usual. In this case, Holst’s Planets paired with Walton’s Belshazzar. The concert was recorded and is available on iTunes.

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