in: News & Features

May 18, 2013

A View from the BSO Brass

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In connection with the story on the appointment of Andris Nelsons as the next music director of the BSO, BMInt had an interesting conversation with artistic administrator Tony Fogg about the way he works with conductors and his expectations for Nelsons’ tenure.

Lee Eiseman: Since 2006, when James Levine tore his rotator cuff and became undependable, you’ve had a tremendous role in repertoire and personnel. Does the appointment of the new music director allow the artistic administrator to contemplate relaxing a bit?

Tony Fogg: [Laughter] Well, relaxing—that’s a great prospect!

The period of James Levine’s declining health was very stressful for everyone—most particularly the orchestra. It was distressing from the audience’s point of view to see someone clearly, and publicly, suffering as much as he did.  And his withdrawal from performances was undeniably an extra burden for those of us in the administration who often had to deal with last-minute rearrangements of plans. Cancellations always happen. But to have them with such concentration, and with someone who was as important as Jimmy was to our musical lives, was a difficult situation.

I’m looking forward to being able really to start planning for the next several seasons. It was a great relief to sit down with Andris’ manager and, at least, take a first look at blocking out periods of time for him here in Boston over the next five seasons. When we know the weeks during which our music director is going to be present, we can then approach the various guest conductors with whom we want to collaborate. To start to work with Andris, to think about what his big projects will be over the next four seasons, is very exciting for all of us.

It must be very different when you’re working with a music director instead of with individual conductors who are guests—no matter how distinguished they are, and I assume that a music director will put his own imprint on seasons and planning more than a guest conductor would.

There are purely pragmatic or factual dimensions to this issue. If a music director is here for ten or twelve weeks of the season, then that is one set of ongoing conversations. Planning ten or twelve programs with conductor is very different to planning one or two programs with five or six conductors. You can, in a certain way, give a quite different set of directions and emphases. Also when we’re working with a guest conductor, invariably it’s the issue of finding the balance between what we need in the season – to try and create a good balance overall—and being responsive to his or her musical interests. The process with any music director is more organic.

Does the music director often have any thoughts on who the guest conductors will be and what he wants to hear from them?

With Jim, even before his tenure began formally, Mark [Volpe, BSO managing director] and I presented a list which included conductors with whom the orchestra had been working in past seasons (our ongoing relationships), as well as names of others we hadn’t seen and would like to. Jimmy basically gave his imprimatur to that. He wanted the BSO to work with absolutely the best conductors available. With regard to program planning with guest conductors, in discussions with the guests I would always keep in mind the areas of repertoire that were of was particularly interest to Jim and that may want to include in his own programs. Jim always wanted a guest conductor to come and present repertoire about which he or she was most excited. There were times over the years where a guest would suggest a work that I know Jim would probably at some point or other like to do. Invariably Jim’s response would be: ‘Please go ahead and confirm that for the guest, and we’ll find a time to schedule the piece again with me in a few seasons’ time.’ I’m anticipating that we’re going to have much the same relationship with Andris. We’ve talked a little bit about the great guest conductors that we have coming to the BSO, and he’s certainly seen the brochures of the last several seasons, so he’s got a good sense of our regular collaborators.

Do you think that Nelsons has a direction in which he wants to take the BSO in terms of sound and in terms of repertoire?

His repertoire interests are extremely catholic, when you look at his programs elsewhere. This fact has certainly been reflected in all our discussions, including the conversations that the musician members of the search committee had with him as recently as last weekend. He’s got very diverse taste, with perhaps some particular focus on the Germanic traditions but also Russian, Slavonic and middle European works. He has a wide-ranging interest in contemporary music. I think it would be premature to say that he has any particular repertoire focus in mind for us. He certainly likes the idea of variety and of well-balanced programs.

Is there a particular sound that he’s apt to want to ask for?

I can only speak to my impressions of the type of sound that he’s achieved—the quality of the sound he’s realized—with the BSO in the performances that he’s given so far. And this is always very subjective, of course. It’s vibrant and rich, with a wide range of dynamics that adds a certain power of expression to the colors that he uses. I was reminded of this last weekend when I heard him conduct the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra in the Shostakovich 7th Symphony in London, particularly in the middle movements which are the more reflective and ruminative in character. He shaped and balanced these with enormous subtlety and with great finesse. These are the hallmarks of his music making and I think they are the qualities that he will bring to the type of sound that he will draw from the BSO.

The BSO is blessed to play here in this acoustically remarkable space, Symphony Hall, and doesn’t need to force the sound in any way. And the more time that Andris spends here with the orchestra, the more he will gain even greater sense of the coloristic possibilities of our great ensemble.

In terms of style, for instance, we haven’t heard an awful lot of Bach in recent years and I personally have the feeling that the BSO does not need to cede Bach to the early music practitioners and while there have been a handful of Bach passions there’s an awful lot of Bach that used to be played and I wonder whether Nelsons has any history in modern orchestra versions of music of that period.

Looking at his schedules, I don’t think that Bach has featured prominently in Andris’ programming, but I could be wrong.

Considering this question in a wider context, though, I don’t think we should be looking to any one conductor to be able to cover the entire range of the repertoire. Certainly Jimmy had areas of the repertoire in which he was not personally interested, even though he thought it important that these were covered by the guest conductors. We’d always talked about wanting to do Bach but time didn’t allow that to happen.

I think the musical scene in Boston is quite different now to how it was 50 or 60 years ago. You mentioned the notion of handing over responsibility to the specialist groups. I think it must be acknowledged there are now many more very fine ensembles covering that period of the repertoire than there were five or six decades ago, when it was probably more the responsibility of the BSO to play everything. But that has changed. You have noted we’ve done both the St. Matthew and the St. John Passions in recent seasons and there have been reasonably regular visits from conductors like Ton Koopman who bring another perspective to performance practice at the BSO. It’s all a matter of balance. Each season has a different profile.

In terms of repertoire I also have a question of to what extent is Nelsons going to be involved in the Boston cultural community, how long is he going to live here, is he going to be playing a lot of our local composers as the orchestra has done with Harbison and Schuller and the like, and has there been discussion in how much he’ll be involved in the local scene other than simply arriving and conducting.

I think these are all questions which time will answer. Next season, which is a season where he’s Music Director Designate, he wants to try and get to know the city a little better. He’s very interested to get to know the neighborhoods of Boston then make some decision about where he would like to be based. His wife Kristine Opolais is going to be at the Met for two productions each season for the next five years and so will be on the East coast for about three months of the year. A home for them here in Boston may make a lot of sense but these are all family decisions. As to the question of Boston composers, this is a whole area that we are still to explore. His programs elsewhere suggest a wide range of stylistic interests in terms of contemporary music. Not surprisingly, these have been mainly European living composers. The composers whose music he’s championed often include Paul Rouders, Mark Anthony Turnage, Jorg Widmann, Dalbavie, Lindberg, H.K. Gruber, Sally Beamish, my [Australian] compatriot Brett Dean. That’s a pretty eclectic mix. He is very interested in getting to know a range of American styles, especially the marvelous composers who are based here in Boston.

Are there any neglected works of the past that he has shown any affinity for?

Again, I think it’s early days, still.

Though not a ‘neglected’ composer, per se, Jim Levine doesn’t have a personal affinity for Bruckner’s music and it didn’t feature in any of his programs, though it has been included in the programs of guests. We had a wonderful Bruckner 4th this season with Dohnányi, the 7th a couple of years ago with Masur, and so on. Andris has mentioned that he’s interested in, perhaps, doing Bruckner with us, though this is just one idea. There are many, many possibilities.

Will he be contractually obligated to spend a certain number of days in Boston ultimately?

No, our arrangement with him is for a number of weeks per season, which is the standard way of expressing this. In his first full season as music director, which is the ’14-’15 season, he’ll be here for anywhere between eight and ten weeks, we’re working on that at the moment. And thereafter for twelve weeks. That is literally half of the subscription season, so it’s a very significant commitment. He’ll be at Tanglewood for at least two weekends of programs—we hope more.

Nelsons recently said in an interview that he’s a fan of Michael Jackson and Sting. Will there be a firewall between his pop tastes and his symphonic tastes?

[Laughter] Well, I honestly don’t know how often he listens to Michael Jackson or Sting! I’m sure whoever asked about that was curious about other aspects of Nelsons’ musical interests—and not thinking that it might prompt a question like this for me!

So you don’t think the BSO is about to become a world music presenter?

We have a great orchestra with an amazing tradition and I think we’ve got someone here who’s just going to take that to the next level of refinement.

Ok, my last question: Can you tell us why the search took so long.

Well, that’s an interesting question. Our business works in very long, slow cycles. Typically, we plan in an active three-season horizon. And you know, the great conductors and soloists of our time have long-term commitments. The search process I think quite properly wanted to allow the opportunity to see some conductors for more than one visit, to be certain that the chemistry was right. Maybe some orchestras operate in different ways but I think our way was somewhat more deliberative. It may have been frustrating at time that this took so long, but in the end it’s a fantastic outcome and a unified decision.

20 years from now will you be able to tell me whether Andris Nelsons was the first choice?

No need to wait 20 years. I can tell you now that he was absolutely our first choice.

35 Comments

  1. Not a good omen that Andris Nelsons is a big fan of Michael Jackson and Sting, two of the most vacuous minds in popular music. Time will of course tell. Disappointed that my favorites did not get it, Andes, Jurowski, and Mailke.

    Comment by Bob Summers — May 18, 2013 at 12:44 pm

  2. Bravo, Tony – truly a fantastic outcome! And hats off to the other members of the search committee: players, Mark Volpe, and trustees. I applaud your patience and thoroughness.

    Let me add that I very much look forward to hearing the great Stéphane Denève again, along with Vladimir Jurowski and Daniele Gatti. However, I can tell you that Andris Nelsons was absolutely my first choice as well.

    Comment by nimitta — May 18, 2013 at 1:00 pm

  3. >> two of the most vacuous minds in popular music

    Doubt you would find many classical musicians today concurring in that (totally untrue) shot.

    Nice, rewarding interview.

    Comment by David Moran — May 18, 2013 at 1:09 pm

  4. Great interview, thanks to Lee and Tony for giving us the chance to eavesdrop!

    Tony, I’m thrilled to hear that we can look forward to more Bruckner than we’ve heard. While the BSO does seem to bring out B7, B9, and B4 in recent years, we haven’t heard B5 since Seiji conducted it in 1992, and I don’t even recall a performance of B1 (hopefully we’ll hear it in the Linz version). B2 was last played by Jeffrey Tate close to (or over) a decade ago. Any Bruckner is a joy to hear, but I hope in particular that you’ll find a space in the program for the 5th in particular. If it’s not a symphony in Nelsons’ repertoire, perhaps Hans Graf might get the nod–I thought his Bruckner 7 was simply incredible, and he clearly has a special affinity for Bruckner’s magnificent symphonies. Graf is arguably one of the greatest living conductors of Bruckner today. Hopefully Nelsons will join that list.

    Nelsons inherits an orchestra that is in great shape musically. The quality of the orchestra’s playing, day-in and day-out, has been rather remarkable these last five years. To my ears, the Boston Symphony Orchestra is playing at a level that would place it in the top ten orchestras of the world for sure, and arguably in the top five. The Nelsons era has a huge upside and this could turn out to be a great partnership.

    Thank you, Tony and all your BSO colleagues, for making an inspired choice!

    Comment by Mogulmeister — May 18, 2013 at 1:18 pm

  5. Here’s a man, James Levine, with a great appreciation of Beethoven, Schubert, Mahler and Wagner, yet he’s lukewarm vis a vis Bruckner. Hard to understand. No mention of Maestro (to be) Nelsons’ attitude toward French music (someone here recently excoriated his traversal of “La Mer”), long a staple of the BSO. Will Charles Dutoit be engaged to perform Berlioz, Faure, Ravel, Debussy and even Roussell? Will he schedule any concert operas that may be much loved but ignored by the BLO?

    Comment by Laurence Glavin — May 18, 2013 at 4:22 pm

  6. Great musicians have been known to dislike Bruckner’s music, starting with Brahms.

    Toscanini led the 4th and 7th with the NY Phil; after a performance of the 7th, he was said to have pronounced it “further evidence that Bruckner never slept with a woman.”

    While it would be interesting to see how French music holds up to Nelsons’ attentions, don’t forget that Stephane Deneve is still out there, and much younger than Dutoit.

    Comment by Camilli — May 18, 2013 at 4:41 pm

  7. Would it be too much to ask that Maestro Nelsons dress properly when he conducts — white tie in the evening, black tie in the afternoon — out of respect for the traditions of the BSO?

    Comment by Joe Whipple — May 19, 2013 at 8:40 am

  8. >> Would it be too much to ask that Maestro Nelsons dress properly when he conducts …

    Yes.

    Comment by David Moran — May 19, 2013 at 11:06 am

  9. Orchestras established those traditions of dress in a time when the gentlemen in the audience (and the only men in the audience were gentlemen) dressed like that too. Nowadays it comes perilously close to Quaint Period Costume. Of course it might help draw the tourists. Perhaps black tie in the evenings should be required for the audience as well.

    I watched the brief video interview-clip with Nelsons on the Globe’s website, and it wasn’t promising. He used the word “emotion” about twenty times, which I think is nineteen, or perhaps twenty, too many – the conductor should concern himself with music, not emotion, which is the audience’s job. The musical influences he mentioned were Michael Jackson, Sting, and Elton John – perhaps he thought this was the Pops gig. He may have just been giving the Globe what he though they wanted, and he had to work around a language barrier, but it wasn’t a good start. I also notice that his sparse recorded output is dominated by Tchaikovsky, which does not bode well.

    Comment by SamW — May 19, 2013 at 12:15 pm

  10. I’m not an admirer of his “costume de concert”, but really I don’t give a damn if he dresses like Batman, so long as the result is as thrillingly musical as it has been and got him chosen as MD.

    If Nelsons cannot do the French the way we remember le grand Charles did it, then Deneve should be invited.

    As for Bruckner, a modest proposal: invite the Vienna Philharmonic–no orchestra can do it the way they do– for a week of Bruckner for all the Boston Brucknerites, lock the doors against the escape of the flatulence, and everyone will be happy.

    Comment by Ed Robbins — May 19, 2013 at 12:18 pm

  11. Very good. Maybe Sir Elton can tackle one of the z-z-z Chopin concertos, and Batman garb would be outstanding, for Bruckner and much else. Surely some old Seiji outfits are still hanging in closets for new podium occupants. Any dress code whatsoever for the audience would improve things.

    Comment by David Moran — May 19, 2013 at 1:33 pm

  12. I think the Penguin is more what Joe Whipple had in mind. I like your thinking though. Perhaps the BSO could offer a complimentary glass of champagne to anyone who shows up dressed as a superhero. And no, Bruckner does not qualify as a superhero.

    Comment by SamW — May 19, 2013 at 7:25 pm

  13. A bit of a disappointing interview in that the headline led me to expect an interview with a member of the brass section.

    Aside from that, the rush to judgment is odd. He’s young and we have a new relationship. Let’s see how we grow together.

    Comment by Jack — May 19, 2013 at 9:42 pm

  14. David, I don’t see how they can have a dress code for the audience if they don’t have one for the Doctor of Medicine, as people have taken to calling the position. And we have to have young people joining the audience, so we don’t care what they wear. Right?

    Comment by Joe Whipple — May 20, 2013 at 7:32 am

  15. These are all small jokes, Joe.

    Comment by david moran — May 20, 2013 at 10:41 am

  16. Thanks so much for this interview.

    While a Music Director is an urgent need, it isn’t always necessary — witness the remarkable Philharmonia Orchestra in London, founded by EMI’s Walter Legge, that impressed Toscanini and so many others, and had such stars as Dennis Brain. They didn’t get an MD until Otto Klemperer in about 1958.

    Just as some listeners lament the near-absence of Bruckner, I note a deficiency of another kind: How often does the BSO play the music of Aaron Copland, especially at Tanglewood? If you look carefully at their seasons in both locations, very little of Copland’s music is actually played, even though his involvement with the Orchestra dates to about 1926.

    If my memory is correct, next year will mark the 60th anniversary of the premiere of “The Tender Land”, which took place with the NYCO, and then a revised version was premiered at T’wood a year later. And yet I see no revival of that unique work on the horizon.

    As for the technical quality of the BSO’s playing, I submit that the Philadelphia Orchestra is in still better shape despite all it has gone through. And the most gleaming, polished playing is undoubtedly the New York Philharmonic, which now has a week-in/week-out pride that is a wonder to behold — especially when we remember its numerous problems after Toscanini left it in 1936.

    Comment by Don Drewecki — May 20, 2013 at 1:32 pm

  17. Bon writes: “Not a good omen that Andris Nelsons is a big fan of Michael Jackson and Sting, two of the most vacuous minds in popular music.”

    I could care less about MJ, but Sting is another matter — I love his early work with The Police, who put out some really great records.

    Comment by Don Drewecki — May 20, 2013 at 1:35 pm

  18. I was perusing the YouTube website the other day and stumbled upon a fascinating 3-part interview with the then 29-year Maestro Nelsons, shortly after he had been named Music Director of the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra (CBSO). The interview was produced by the corporate arm of the CBSO and provides some interesting insights into their selection process and Mr. Nelson’s musical philosophies — well worth a viewing IMHO. Just enter “Andris Nelsons” into YouTube’s home page search field and you’ll find it

    Comment by Gerald Baker — May 20, 2013 at 2:03 pm

  19. The Vienna Philharmonic, which is usually regarded as a pretty good orchestra, has never had a Music Director.

    Comment by SamW — May 20, 2013 at 4:24 pm

  20. I love Don’s notion that we should remember the NY Phil’s numerous problems circa 1936. Let the dead bury the dead.

    Today’s NYTimes had an interesting essay on young conductors who prove more or less innovative. I’d just question the complaint about inattention to living composers. I’d say music post 1945 has been poorly represented. We could use deuxiemes as well as premieres.

    Perhaps our new MD will prove to have a sense of humor and declare 2014/15 an American year. Starting with Dvorak just for fun.

    Comment by Jack — May 20, 2013 at 9:12 pm

  21. How about an all-American lineup of Dvorak, Mahler, Schoenberg, Bartok, and Stravinsky ?

    Comment by SamW — May 20, 2013 at 11:19 pm

  22. http://www.nytimes.com/2013/05/20/arts/music/andris-nelson-is-latest-of-orchestras-young-leaders.html?pagewanted=all

    Comment by David Moran — May 21, 2013 at 12:43 am

  23. The Vienna repertoire is so relatively limited one might think of that orchestra as a museum of
    masterpieces. Is that what the BSO or any of the great American orchestras should be? Second tier
    orchestras from possibly less sophisticated, well educated cities than Boston, have recently given concerts in Carnegie made up of mostly modern works. What does that tell us? Since CDs have almost disappeared who will hear the new works or how often? Or maybe new and perhaps exciting works will be played in smaller venues by relatively unknown groups, but not by symphony orchestras of stature. Or is classical music as we have thought about it like the Bible, a closed canon, the interpretation of which being all that is left to us?

    Comment by Ed Robbins — May 21, 2013 at 12:54 am

  24. Jack writes: “I love Don’s notion that we should remember the NY Phil’s numerous problems after 1936. Let the dead bury the dead.”

    True, but the fact that the NYP plays with such perfection despite their hall and their reputation as an orchestra that didn’t give a damn much of the time — well, I have heard the orchestra four or five times at AFH and their work, every time, was outstanding. And I do hear the Fab Phils both at Saratoga and at Verizon Hall, and much of their famed tonal beauty and sensitivity is still there.

    By the way, if anyone’s interested there will be a genuine, LIVE relay of the Fab Phils this coming Friday at 2:00 pm, on WRTI/Philly, with Gil Shaham and YNS. Here’s the URL with the announcement. Unfortunately, WRTI streams at only 128kbps, but this still looks tasty:

    http://www.wrti.org/post/must-hear-broadcast-philadelphia-orchestra-live-wrti-may-24-2-pm

    Comment by Don Drewecki — May 21, 2013 at 12:16 pm

  25. Help, please: What is ” at AFH ? ” I consulted Urban Dictionary and found
    “‘AFH’ stands for ‘away from home’ and is the act of taking a sh*t anywhere outside of the comfort
    of your own home. Particuarily [sic] applies to taking a sh*t at your friends [sic] house.”

    Comment by Martin Cohn — May 21, 2013 at 7:50 pm

  26. Avery Fisher Hall. DD was discussing NYPhil (New York Philharmonic). That’s where they play, sometimes, if not doing that other stuff.

    Comment by David Moran — May 21, 2013 at 8:01 pm

  27. This comment (A) (below) by SamW is right on. I have never heard Nelsons in a live concert although I heard a radio broadcast of a concert he conducted at Tanglewood that was disjointed and tenuous at best. Nelson’s is very young and has a lot to learn, management took a big risk hiring him.

    (A) “The musical influences he mentioned were Michael Jackson, Sting, and Elton John – perhaps he thought this was the Pops gig. He may have just been giving the Globe what he though they wanted, and he had to work around a language barrier, but it wasn’t a good start. I also notice that his sparse recorded output is dominated by Tchaikovsky, which does not bode well.”

    Comment by Bob Summers — May 22, 2013 at 1:28 pm

  28. After writing the above comment I came across an article published from WBUR:

    http://artery.wbur.org/2013/05/17/nelsons-bso?utm_source=twitter&utm_medium=social&utm_campaign=wbureve

    It is true the BSO management wants to turn Symphony Hall into a rock palace. My first BSO concert was more than 40 years ago. Much has changed. The program guide today lists a staff approximately 3-4 times what is was in 1971. Marketing now rules the musical programming! In the last couple of weeks I have received four calls from the BSO asking for money for Tanglewood. Each time I told the person calling me I was not interested and that someone had called before. The above referenced article tries to perpetuate the myth that during the Ozawa years the quality of the orchestra deteriorated substantially. For 29 years!! As a subscriber for all those years I did not notice any deterioration in the orchestra. Every concert might not have been brilliant but each concert could be ranked as equal to the top ten orchestras in the world. My discussions with many principals in the orchestra during those years revealed the utmost respect for Ozawa and they speak of him as a great conductor. My seat neighbors in Symphony Hall were embarrassed to admit that they liked Ozawa because of the work of a few critics. The worst comment was from the New York Times critic John Rockwell who dismissed Ozawa as an “exotic” During the Ozawa years I had the pleasure of hearing world premiers by Elliott Carter, Roger Sessions, Henri Dutileux, Sir Michael Tippett, Oliver Knussen and many others. Will the “work” of Elton John, Sting and Michael Jackson supplant these great composers? Will the opening work of Nelson’s first full season be “Billy Jean is Not My Lover”?

    Comment by Bob Summers — May 22, 2013 at 3:22 pm

  29. I disagree. This tiny quote (Sting, etc.) that seems to rankle a few was one of two dozen influences cited in multiple sources. Early music and Italian madrigals, Wagner, Bruckner, Mozart, etc. It also obviously underscores Nelsons being HALF of James Levine’s age… whether intended by Nelsons or not, it was surely carried with glee by the media outlets involved.

    And speaking of unintended consequences, the notion that intelligent listeners would be so petrified of a conductor citing 20 year old pop music merely reinforces the popular image of us as top-hat-wearing, crusty relics. “Harumph! Bad form!”

    Comment by Josh Nannestad — May 22, 2013 at 3:24 pm

  30. For decades a great many players in the orchestra, and listeners and critics other than Rockwell, found Ozawa’s conducting of important core repertory to be generalized, featureless, bland and boring. This is widely admitted, as is that he also effected both improvement in some of the playing and some good weeding out. He had superior stick technique and impressive traffic control, everyone concurs in that too. He conducted much modern music, often brilliantly. But Joey Silverstein’s 1974 quote in the Phoenix (intended chiefly as neutral description) that if you draw 500cc of blood from every classical musician you will find Beethoven 5 somewhere in it, but not Seiji, presaged the next two-plus decades for core pieces. This lack became a serious problem soon enough, and it lasted as such for a long time, as Ozawa simply did not musically grow as hoped.

    The comments about the new hire’s liking Sting meaning he is perhaps likely to program pop music and is off to a bad start — how paranoid and silly. I will bet it turns out that we’re lucky the 34yo Nelsons took the job.

    Comment by David Moran — May 22, 2013 at 4:04 pm

  31. I am not afraid of him programming pop music and did not find the quotes deeply disturbing, only a little pathetic – mostly the Globe’s trying to find an angle, and Nelsons’ being excessively ingratiating. If anything about his citing of such influences bothered me it was that they were so predictable and mainstream. If he had mentioned Radiohead I would have been impressed, not petrified.

    I actually expect good things from him. If he can just lay off the Tchaikovsky, I don’t think his taste for Michael Jackson will do him much harm.

    Comment by SamW — May 22, 2013 at 9:00 pm

  32. Some of you seem to forget that it was Quincy Jones who produced Thriller.. didn’t Quincy Jones study with Nadia Boulanger and with Olivier Messiaen? Catholicity of taste in music is very promising. Bach listened to peasant dances, with their rich tones.

    Comment by Ashley — May 23, 2013 at 5:28 pm

  33. Isn’t it well established that everyone in the music world is within three degrees of separation from Nadia Boulanger ?

    Comment by SamW — May 23, 2013 at 9:03 pm

  34. I’m surprised by the comments about standards of dress for conductors. One of the things I liked about Ozawa was his preference for a white turtleneck without a tie. It makes for a better visual background for the hands and the stick, so that beat and gesture can be more clearly seen. I would recommend this for all conductors any day, against the usual boiled shirt and black tie.

    Comment by Mark DeVoto — May 28, 2013 at 10:25 pm

  35. Congratulations to Adris Nelsons for earning a magnificent review of the War Requiem!

    Comment by Bob Summers — June 1, 2013 at 7:41 am

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