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F i r s t


P e r s o n


LS: What do you think the world should love as much as you do? JD: My wife and I urge our son to be passionate and curious, to find those things that really make life rich and distinctive, and pursue them with joy, intensity, humility for the endeavor and the people you are working with and not to be afraid of the perseverance it takes. I would love to see the world embrace the idea of big-hearted emotion. I think we mistake loud self-proclamation for the kind of fearless, unselfconscious emotion that results from deep inquiry, subtlety and a path of questioning discovery.


LS: Some of your concerts resemble a pops orchestra. Why have you chosen to go that route?


JD: Music explores so many different moods and has a place in so many varied settings. The great classics and the best modern music are written for all and not a select group. Beethoven, Tchaikovsky, Stravinsky and AaronCoplandtoname a fewallused folk music, popular music in their works. I have performed Bernstein and Gershwin on “classical concerts.” For that matter, the Nutcracker, 1812 Overture, and Handel’s Messiah were not written for “pops” concerts. That said, sometimes it’s really fun to make music into a rollicking party. We will onlyplay greatmusic,what- ever the kindofprogram.Sometimes it’s just about fun. Everyone should be able to have a hot-fudge Sunday sometimes but I wouldn’t want to live on them three times a day.


LS: Other than your own, what profession would you like to do? JD: Sharing music—for me, the most powerful expression of humanity— is really hard to top! Though, I did love what little acting I tried. I also


love to cook, but that is so different from being a restaurateur. It would spoil the cooking fun.


LS: What profession would you not like to do? JD: I guess the truth of it is pretty much anything other than conducting. I would hate to be the executive director of an orchestra! They have all the parts that are most existentially difficult of the non-profit side of leading an orchestra without the joy of getting your hands into the music. It would be like baking a cake but not eating it. For this reason, and because I know how much intelligence, creativity, hard work, and backbone go into it, I am so grateful to work with Paul Herron who is the Bay-Atlantic Symphony’s fabulously gifted and dedicated executive director.


LS: Is there a question you’re surprised that no one has ever asked you? JD: What the physical gestures of conducting all about? With my gestures I show the orchestra when and how to play. The conductor through gesture must really sculpt in real time how that piece reels out. There is no “ideal” tempo. It totally depends on the acoustic of the hall, the size of the sound the orchestra makes, the mood of the orchestra and the audience. I am both internalizing and then expressing the sounds of the score with a group of brilliantly talented artists to share a unified vision. I am not really putting on a visual show for the audience though usually (not always!) great conductors are really captivating to watch. 


For more information visit www.bayatlanticsymphony.org


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