Issue 19: Through Bohemia to Russia

Happy New Year!

This new issue covers three beautiful pieces with three brilliant people. We start in Bohemia – Courtney Lewis, Music Director of the Jacksonville Symphony, chose to focus on Dvořák’s Symphony No. 7. Very different in character from the composer’s other eight symphonies, it is meticulously crafted, highly regarded and inspired by Brahms’ Symphony No. 3. This was one of the first pieces Courtney ever conducted, and he has since performed it with almost every orchestra he has conducted since.

It was a delight to welcome back the wonderful JoAnn Falletta, Music Director of the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra, to dive into another one of her all-time favourite pieces: Scheherazade by Rimsky-Korsakov. Our discussion included her fascinating relationship with the work’s narrative, how to navigate the numerous tricky transitions, and how she collaborates with and brings out the best in the concertmaster (and other soloists).

Our last piece continues the theme of fantasy and fairytale, and was written buy another Russian. There are few (if any) conductors that are more familiar with Prokofiev’s Cinderella than Martin West, Music Director of the San Francisco Ballet. Martin has conducted this work over hundred times in numerous productions, and in our conversation covered how each one altered the way he worked with the orchestra. Read his thoughts on Cinderella in comparison with Romeo and Juliet, the challenges of the more exposed orchestration, and how he accommodates both the dancers and musicians.

As ever, huge thanks to Courtney, JoAnn and Martin for their time. I really enjoyed working on these, hope you enjoy reading them.

Happy Reading!

Dr. Hannah Baxter (Editor)