Listen... the Edmonton Symphony Orchestra is playing

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Last week I was planning on writing a post to highlight our slightly unusual Midweek Classics concert that takes place tomorrow evening.  The slightly unusual bit was that our two guest artists - conductor and pianist -  share a last name - Kuerti - and happen to be father and son. I'm not sure how often this happens with professional orchestras, but I'd have to say, not often. The whole concept behind the concert was intriguing, no matter what they were performing! And then some things happened in Boston.  In a nutshell, famed conductor Gennady Rozhdestvensky was scheduled to conduct four concerts with the Boston Symphony Orchestra, and pulled out at the last minute, feeling slighted and insulted by how he was (or wasn't) marketed to the public by the BSO.  This left the conducting job to the BSO's assistant conductor, Julian Kuerti, who, by all accounts, is doing a marvelous job.  Of course, this meant that he had to request to be released from his engagement with us.

Now, my own personal take on all this is that Rozhdestvensky may be totally justified in his feelings, but it's hard to see how his actions are justified. Reading through the comments on the Boston Globe article, it's clear this is a contentious issue.  I suppose if Rozhdestvensky wanted more publicity than he was getting, he got it. But in the end, half the people now think less of the BSO, and half the people now think less of Rozhdestvensky. I don't think either opinion helps the orchestra business in any way. As well, his actions affect many, many more people than just the BSO and their patrons - for instance, we had to replace a conductor on very short notice. Thankfully, Claude Lapalme, one of our regular guest conductors, has graciously agreed to step in, and there is only a slight change to the program. CBC radio has also pulled out of recording the concert for broadcast on Sunday Afternoon in Concert. So the dominoes fall.

Oh, and if the original concept of the concert intrigues you, then you probably should check out Two Horns, featuring former Canadian Brass member Martin Hackleman and current ESO principal horn Allene Hackleman.


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