Holiday Wishes from Around the World

It’s time for the last entry of the calendar year. Why? Because I will be on my way to Taiwan next Monday, then off to China on December 26, and I won’t be back until early January. This will be my first ever trip to Asia ever. I will be conducting the Kaohsiung Symphony Orchestra in an all Viennese program, again with the great American soprano, Rebecca Nelsen singing. After that comes a multi-stop concert tour with the musicians of the Hungarian Radio Symphony. We will be playing Beethoven Symphony No.8 along with Strauss’ Kaiserwaltzer and other great and fun pieces.
As for what happened since my last blog entry, here is a short summary. On November 14 I have conducted a program with the Hungarian radio Symphony at the Palace of the Arts (MUPA), Budapest. The program was made up of two Mahler compositions, Songs of a Wayfarer and Symphony No.1 “Titan”, and the famous ‘Cantus Artcticus’, concerto for birds and orchestra by Rautavaara. The Radio Symphony and I have made history by playing a Rautavaara work for the very first time in the (now about 18yo) history o Palace of the Arts. After a short and sweet Thanksgiving break with friends in Milwaukee, Wisconsin I have gotten a lot of things done in Huntsville in preparation for season 18-19. Last week after spending two full days at the Budapest Music Center, composer-conductor Peter Eötvös and myself have selected 4 young composers and 2 conductors for the multi-year mentor program of the Peter Eötvös Contemporary Music Foundation. Two days ago I have spent a day working with the Pannon Philharmonic Orchestra in Pécs.
In the meantime I have finished Part One of my new-old Puppet Opera, The Giant Baby (premiere early July, 2018 at the Armel Festival) and have sent the vocal scores to the singers. I am planning to finish working on the opera latest by mid March, 2018. More on it later!
Check out my pretty busy schedule of the first three months of calendar year 2018 here ———————————>
If you are on the main page of my blog site just look to the right! 😉
I wish all of you a Blessed Holiday Season and all the best for the New Year!
See you here again in January!

On A High Note And More

The 2014-15 Season of the Huntsville Symphony is ending on a high note, well actually on many high notes. The amazing Elina Vahala
is back to play the powerful and extremely difficult Violin Concerto #2 by Bela Bartok. Our last classical concert opens with Les preludes by Franz Liszt and closes with Brahms’ Symphony No.1.
Just this week HSO has announced its 2015-16 season. Please click on this link to find out about all the details
My busy 15-16 season continues. Next week I am off to San Jose, CA to conduct a choral program with Symphony Silicon Valley. Right after that I jump into the production of Doctor Faust by Italian composer Ferruccio Busoni at the Budapest Opera, then back to the US to conduct the Rochester Philharmonic. Stay tuned! Also do not forget to Tune In on WLRH tomorrow morning 9AM EST to listen to Ginny Kennedy and myself talking about the Saturday concert and about the next season of HSO.
In the meantime here is the review of my concert with the Omaha Symphony from last week for your reading pleasure.

Eine Kleine Stravinsky

Symphony Silicon Valley invited me to conduct an interesting “pasticcio”-program this week at the beautiful California Theater in San Jose, CA.
Two concerts, one on Saturday evening and one on Sunday afternoon start with Mozart’s “way-too-well-known” Serenade in G K.525 nicknamed ‘Eine kleine Nachtmusik’. It is a challenge to do music that is always on the “Your Favorite Classical Music” selection at your local radio station or can be found on a Holiday CD for $2 each at Walmart. The only thing a conductor can do is to read the score with fresh eyes and concentrate purely on the musical information on the sheet music. Knowing and loving Mozart’s genius and work also helps. I spent a long hour rethinking phrasing, articulation, tempi and ornaments for this lively piece of string orchestra music. As always I am having fun with the challenge.
The second piece on the program is Symphony in C (Symphonie en ut as the score says in French) by Igor Stravinsky (or Strawinsky according to Edition Schott). This is a 28 minute long so called “neo-classical” composition written in 1940 for a medium size Beethoven orchestra. I don’t want to go into details here about the intricacies of orchestration, chord-engineering or thematic development. Let me just say one thing. There is no 20th Century composer who can dress up a seemingly simple chord or motive like Stravinsky can. This piece shows great mastery of pretend-simplicity and gives us a captivating musical portrait of the “Key C” in all its glory.
Read the program notes by Phillip Huscher here:
In the second half of the program I get to be the musical partner of Mayuko Kamio
in her colorful and imaginative interpretation of Tchaikovsky’s Violin Concerto.