We enjoyed a really special evening this week at the Summer Proms with a wonderful performance by the ‘National Youth Orchestra of Ireland‘ at the National Concert Hall in Dublin, who are without doubt a very talented Irish treasure.
What caught my attention particularly on the night was a very clever way of inspiring the many players by the energetic and charismatic conductor, Christian Vásquez from Venezuela.
The blurb on the internet describes him as “Renowned for his charismatic stage presence, powerful interpretations and compelling musical integrity“. I got it!
I must own up to my lack of knowledge when it comes to orchestras and the role of the conductor, but if I ever needed someone to bring this to life for me it was during this performance.
The evening was a full symphonic programme made up of:
TCHAIKOVSKY : Symphony No. 2 in C minor, Op. 17 (Little Russian)
MANUEL DE FALLA : The Three Cornered Hat: Three Dances from Suite No. 2
JOSE PABLO MONCAYO : Huapango
ALBERTO GINASTERA : Dances from Estancia
ARTURO MÁRQUEZ : Danzon nr. 2
ZEQUINHA ABREU : Tico Tico
After the first segment finished the audience applauded to offer their appreciation – Christian the conductor, stepped back into the middle of the orchestra and accepted the applause but then he started to point to some of the individuals in the orchestra gesturing them to stand up and accept particular applause.
He pointed to a drummer at the back, the harpist on the left, a bass player in the middle, a violinist on the right and then a group from each section until all were standing up in unison.
While he ever so slightly embarrassed each of them with this unusual gesture, you could see them beaming with pride amidst their brief moment in the spotlight.
After each musical segment he repeated this gesturing to different individuals and as the night came to the very last sequence nearly everyone in the orchestra had been singled out for individual recognition.
I have no doubt that each player gave a little bit extra, more effort, more emotion, more passion, more verve, and more joy as they played their part on that very last song.
At the very end of the night I saw one of the players wiping his eyes – I am going to assume, these were tears of joy, a night he will never remember.
Getting the most from the talent at your disposal is one of the most important jobs as a manager.
While it is a team effort, taking the time to acknowledge the individuals in your team is one of the greatest things a manager can do. It’s not always easy to do but it always makes a difference and
Every performance of Ninth is a major occasion. As will be the case on September when Christian Vásquez opens his sixth season as music director of the Stavanger Symphony Orchestra with two performances of Beethoven’s monumental Ninth.
On Sunday 15 July, Christian Vásquez will make his debut at the InterHarmony International Music Festival in Italy, working with young musicians carefully selected for the InterHarmony Festival Orchestra. Drawing on Christian’s expertise in working with youth orchestras, they will perform Mendelssohn’s Hebrides Overture and excerpts from the composer’s Symphony No. 4, plus Tchaikovsky’s Violin Concerto. Christian will be joined by guest soloist Sergey Khachatryan, who will also give a masterclass to the young musicians the day before.
After an intense week of rehearsals and the performance, Christian will return to Stavanger Symphony Orchestra to open the new 18/19 season with Beethoven Symphony No. 9 in September.
Sergey arrives in Italy after once again working with conductor Valery Gergiev and the Mariinsky Theatre Orchestra, this time at the Granada Festival in Spain. After his performance at the InterHarmony Festival, he will travel to the US to perform Brahms Double Concerto at the Brevard Festival with friend and long-time collaborator Narek Hakhnazaryan.
Christian Vásquez will make his debut with the Norwegian Radio Orchestra conducting a sold-out concert on 14 January at Den Norske Opera with mezzo-soprano Christianne Stotijn. Alongside Mendelssohn’s Hebridene and Mahler’s Rückert-Lieder, the programme also features Bernstein’s Symphonic Dances from West Side Story to mark the start of his centenary year.
Christian will then lead a European tour with the Het Gelders Orkest and soloist Liza Ferschtman with concerts in Amsterdam (18 January), Arnhem, (20 January) and Utrecht (21 January), Wilhelmshaven (30 January and 1 February), Nijmegen (2 February) and Doetinchem (3 February). He will also return to the Stavanger Symphony Orchestra on 25 January, joined by soloist Boris Berezovsky.