with Steven Sloane,
you most looking forward to about your new appointment with the ACO?
looking forward to working with a great orchestra committed to
performing new music and the actual process of making music with this
orchestra. I'm also looking forward to embracing the tradition that
the ACO started 25 years ago, and continuing to promote American
composers and American musical art forms and looking for ways to move
it forward. One of the things I'm also excited about is working with
Bob Beaser and the rest of the ACO staff and also working with Mr.
Ohnesorg, who in my view is one of the great arts presenters of our time.
some American composers that are of particular interest to you?
music of a wide variety of American composers, and my tastes are
fairly eclectic. I've worked hard to have a varied kind of career.
I'm very interested in new music and in music theater, opera, and
also older music. I've done a lot with performance practice in the
Baroque and Classical periods as well.
many premieres including Stewart Wallace's "Gorilla in a
Cage" with Evelyn Glennie, the first European performance of
Michael Daugherty's "Metropolis Symphony", music of Steve
Reich, John Adams, John Coriglianoa lot of
"mainstream" new music. I'm very excited about discovering
more about the history of American music the "classic"
American school as well as learning more about non-mainstream
American composers. I look forward to playing a role in nurturing
young American talent, not just the tried and true. You really never
know whether a commissioned work is going to be successful and you
discover it together with the orchestra. I love the excitement that
there are no guarantees with premieres. In addition to American
repertoire, I've also conducted a lot of new compositions from German
composers and Israeli composers. I've done a lot of music of Bruno
Moderna, Luciano Berio and Israeli composers Tzvi Avni, Noam
Sharriff, and Gil Shohat. I've just commissioned a big work from Gil Shohat.
I have been
involved my whole professional life in creating new pieces. The ACO
fills an interest I have in doing this kind of repertoire because I
don't do it that much in Germany and in the UK and it's a wonderful
complement to the other orchestras I conduct.
What do you
think are the principal differences in being a music director in
Bochum vs. in the US with the ACO?
I really don't
know all the differences yet, but English Northern Philharmonia and
Bochum are full-time ensembles that work all the time with 50-60
programs a year, so the scale of activities is much greater; in that
way the challenge is different with the ACO. With a limited number of
performing opportunities one has to try to find the right focus the
make the maximum impact.
difference is in the systems of funding. In Germany 100% of the
funding for the orchestra is guaranteed by the city. With the ACO
it's the responsibility of the music director to help communicate the
vision to both the audience and its supporters, which is a
significant difference from working in Europe.
How do you
feel about the state of contemporary American music?
I think it's
in a very exciting place. The idea of a new millennium may be worn
out, but the history of American music is full of movements and
schools. Through the development of the American music scene,
Americans are in a position to create many new and interesting ideas.
American music has become more and more accepted and nurtured by
concertgoers as well. I think the amount of new American music being
played has been steadily rising and as a result the opportunities for
the ACO are even greater than in the past. Also, the quality of music
education at a higher level in the US is really very high, and the
compositional level in comparison with international standards is high.
some long-term goals that you hope to accomplish in your tenure with
One of the
things I'm interested in doing is breaking down the traditional
boundaries of what one considers "classic" music or
"entertainment" music, which is how they catagorize music
in Germany. "Entertainment" music is what we would consider
"pop" music. I would like to treat American music as
American music and want it to be an umbrella for all kinds of musical
forms: I want to encourage a more flexible art form that also
includes unusual instruments, multi-media, theater, film, performance
art, and dance, so that we can break down the idea that new music is
in any way elitist or aloof. New music is driving new ideas into the
public and also reacting to the world around it.
still play the viola?
Yes, but my
main musical outlet is singing. I'm a tenor without a top. I like to
sing lieder, folksongs, and I also play guitar. Singing is my
greatest love as a musical outlet.
away from the US for a while, how do you feel about having a position
in New York?
had some involvement conducting in the US, but I'm very excited about
being in the great city of New York and the opportunity to perform in
some of your favorite activities outside of music?
I'm a big
basketball fan: since I was born and raised in LA, the LA Lakers have
been my team, but of course from now on I will root heavily for the
Knicks. I love to play basketball and baseball. Although I don't have
much time for it now, I can still get around the basketball court.