Happy New Year!
Just when we thought nothing was worse than 2020, good old Father Time reminded us that he still had some tricks up his sleeve.
December ended quietly for Cindy and me. The only conducting I did was a set of holiday concerts in Lyon and Aix-en-Provence. Originally, we had planned to do the rarely performed Christmas Oratorio by Saint-Saëns, but the ONL was still in concerts-without-intermission mode, so that idea went away.
It has been three years since I stepped down from my more-than-40-year role as a music director. Having held this position with orchestras both in the States and Europe, I covered a lot of musical ground and accumulated a planeload of airline miles. Some people believe I have retired from conducting, but that is hardly the case.
However, there are some very different aspects to life as a veteran guest conductor, most of which I had not really anticipated until recently. The experience of focusing solely on the music has been much more profound than I expected. Not required to make any administrative decisions, I have been relieved of stress that only became apparent to me after I left my positions. As a result of having fewer responsibilities, I have had time to reexamine several pieces that I have wanted to focus on, whether they were going to appear in upcoming programs or not.