Sunday, June 10, 2012

Duelling Conductors!!

This friday I was a guest on the danish "Radio Klassisk", a radiostation devoted to classical music. This particular station operates with a preselected playlist, rather than context-specific music, and was established in a partnership with the 5 regional symphony orchestras of Denmark.

The show I appeared on is hosted by Uffe Savery, who is the general manager of the Copenhagen Philharmonic Orchestra. Another host on Radio Klassisk is Kasper Holten, former artistic director of the Royal Danish Opera, now operadirector at Covent Garden.

Uffe's orchestra The Copenhagen Philharmonic, (or Cph:Phil as it is now branded) has made a splash recently with some wildly popular flashmob youtube videos, the first of which (Bolero in Copenhagen Central Station) I was lucky enough to conduct. That video has reached over 5 million views.

The second video (Grieg's 'morning mood' in the Metro) has spread even more quickly than the first and should soon overtake the first one in views.
Uffe is a 'classically' trained percussionist, and - by the way -  is one half of the techno/dance group Safriduo, that has produced some major dancechart hits. This has given him some unique experiences and perspectives that he brings to his work with the orchestra. He is very keen on developing new concert formats and he mentioned an idea during our time on the air: How about having two conductors in one concert? 

I think it's a great idea.

Each conductor conducts the same piece of music, but this is not a competition. Nobody gets voted home. The two conductors are professionals, skilled and respectful. The venue is a concerthall. The audience are there out of a genuine interest in music and musicmaking processes, not because they get to be on television with celebreties.

The immediate purpose of this excercise would be something along the lines of:

  1. illustrating the role of the conductor. The idea originated in another show, where Uffe's guest was longing for clarification on the actual role of the conductor. To the layman, it's apparently still somewhat of a mystery what it is we do.
  2. illustrating how the musical elements can vary with different interpretations, and thereby clarifying what those musical elements might be, to someone not necessarily in the know.
It is very likely you will see a manifestation of this concept very soon, and I'm already looking forward to it. In the meantime, I'm open for ideas as to the repetoire. The pieces should be anywhere between 7 and 15 minutes long.

A quick personal brainstorm gave me some suggestions:

Beethoven - Coriolan overture
Tchaikovsky - Capriccion Italien
Weber - Freischütz overture
Sibelius - Finlandia
Gade - Ossian overture
R.Strauss - Til Eulenspiegel
Gerschwin - An american in Paris
Liszt - Mazeppa or Les Preludes
Wagner - Flying Dutchman or other overture
Debussy - L'apres-midi d'un faune
J.Strauss - Fledermaus overture
Verdi - La Forza del Destino overture

..the list goes on and on...any thoughts?

- Jesper

If you could magically create your dream conductor, but he/she could only posess one quality, he/she should preferably be...