February 11, 2008

Never Say Never

Before I get to the never part, I am very excited to hear Alan Gilbet conducting his alma mater The Curtis Symphony Orchestra, today at the Kimmel Center in Philadelphia and tomorrow in New York at Carnegie Hall.

Alan is a newly appointed music director of
The New York Philharmonic. Talented, young and American born. He attended Harvard and Curtis. This is reminiscent of Leonard Bernstein who was and did all of the above.
As a student at Curtis I once ran into a sour experience with an established contemporary composer. I vowed to never work with living composers again.

But … then came Leonard Bernstein.

I was still a student at Curtis assigned to accompany the preparation of Bernstein’s “Chichester Psalms”, which he was to conduct. Again, I prepared to be crushed, but he proved me totally wrong.

Working with Bernstein was human and fun. He was brilliant yet didn’t seem to wear it on his sleeve. Every time someone did a good job playing a solo, he exclaimed hired as he continued to conduct. That’s music making at it’s best.

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