Being a conductor is kind of a hybrid profession because most fundamentally, it is being someone who is a coach, a trainer, an editor, a director.
They are representations of many shared hours of collaboration between us all. That's the real nature of the relationship the orchestra and I are trying to build.
And what classical music does best and must always do more, is to show this kind of transformation of moods, to show a very wide psychological voyage. And I think that's something that we as classical musicians have underestimated.
And at the same time, you are of course a performer, but it's very important that you understand that your role as a performer is to get the best performance from those wonderful colleagues that you have the chance to work with.
Extreme volume in music very often disguises a lack of actually important content.
But some people will say you just did these programs. Well, yes, the programs are important and I'm proud of the programs, but mostly I'm proud of the way the San Francisco Symphony plays these programs.
But if I can be convinced and then through the work that we do together, the orchestra can really be convinced of the big sweep of that communication that the piece suggests, then the audience will get it and it will be a good experience for all of us.
Earlier in my life, I performed a lot of music. Some of it because I felt it was a demonstration, or a representation of certain intellectual concepts that were very exciting and important.
The first year I started in San Francisco, there was an American work on every program and there's been a lot of music by living composers and gradually that was part of the process of getting the audience really to trust me.
The whole path of American music has been so much about the recognition of stylistic diversity, and the recognition of the importance of music which was from one of the vernacular traditions.
I think music needs to be presented in a way so that kids can grasp songs, dances, simple music that's associated with some particular defining moment in human experience.
You know, they were returning to the language of the people and trying to use musical language, particularly as Copland did to create a musical language in which all Americans would feel that they had a stake.
Being an American musician means being adventurous.
I can't do pieces I only admire technically. I have to feel some direct contact with them.
In earlier times, so many people sang much more. You know as a kid you'd go to some kind of religious training and or summer camp or whatever it was and you'd learn to sing a lot of songs.
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