Gustavo Dudamel is making waves...
...and I hope I am the kind of surfer that can ride them! It looks to be a great ride!
A review of the Gothenburg Symphony Orchestra by Charlotte Higgins in The Guardian this morning speaks highly of Gustavo's approach to conducting classical music. The points she highlights as elements of his style are in many ways elements I have been ranting about on this blog for months - albeit, he's approaching it from the podium and I am coming from the vantage point of the score.
Rethink the hierarchies of the symphony orchestra
This is important in understanding new ways in approaching how the orchestra makes sound. Certainly there are composers who have sought the same thing. Xenakis certainly brought a new understanding in orchestral sound - but when looking at a standard orchestra with fairly standard looking music it is still possible to bring new colours to light by approaching the orchestra in sections, rather than as individuals.
Remember: it's supposed to be fun.
Absolutely. So should the music be - for both the players and the audience. If the music isn't fun and challenging to play, the performers won't give it their all. If the audience doesn't enjoy it, they won't be back.
Play (and hear) every concert as if it is your last.
Every piece I write, I write with this attitude. It may be the last piece I write, so it needs to be the best I can make it.
Throw out tradition.
And yet, understand that tradition is the root of what you're doing. Be bold, be new, try different things. All of this with an understanding of all that has come before. Don't feel constrained to "do it as it's always been done" (for example: including rock idioms into a string quartet).
Don't be ashamed of classical music.
Be proud of it! It's amazing music and there is so very much of it. There is still more to come, some really great music just on the horizon if we only have the desire to get there.
Something new is coming. Maybe it's already here with Gustavo. I only wish I knew how to get him to take a look at my symphony. I believe it would truly soar in his hands....