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
…you will see the magic in the performance!
Greg Canty – Fuzion Communications 19 Jul 2019
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.
The Stavanger Symphony Orchestra 2018-19 season begins with two performances of Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony conducted by Maestro Christian Vásquez with vocal soloists soprano Gal James, mezzo-soprano Kristina Hammarstrøm, tenor Marcel Beekman and baritone Konstantin Wolff. The concerts will take place on Thursday, September 06 at 7:30 p.m., and Friday, September 07 at 7:30 p.m., at the Stavanger Concert Hall.
In addition to performing Beethoven’s Ninth, they will play «An die Freude! – Ode to Joy! From Cradle to Beethoven’s 9th Symphony», musical prologue by Jon-Roar Bjørkvold.
This will be a magnificent season opening.
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.
13 Jul 2018
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.
11 Jan 2018
During the tenure of Jacques Lacombe, the New Jersey Symphony Orchestra’s Winter Festival was a chance for the orchestra to hunker down and work with its Artistic Director for intense weeks of music making.
This year, however, given new Artistic Director’s Xian Zhang’s recent hire (and her numerous previous commitments), the NJSO is spending three weeks this month working with an old friend, conductor and violinist, Pinchas Zukerman.
On Friday night at Richardson Auditorium at Princeton, the 2017 Winter Festival continued with another strong collaboration between the NJSO and Zukerman, but it was perhaps most notable for the debut of conductor Christian Vasquez. The young, Venezuelan maestro impressed in his first piece with the New Jersey players: Samuel Barber’s spry “The School of Scandal” overture from 1933.
From the moody, spiky opening to the brassy finish. Vasquez led a taut account of the score. The warm, reverberant acoustics inside the Romanesque lecture hall only helped make Barber’s plush, Neo-Romantic music sound vital. Robert Ingliss provided a lovely oboe solo, and Vasquez articulated Barber’s melodies with skill. The 9-minute overture was often performed in the 1950’s but its more of a rarity today — the NJSO has been dusting it off of late, and as this performance made clear, it’s a good fit for them.
After intermission, Vasquez conducted Camille Saint-Saens’ “Organ” Symphony #3. This 1886 work is big in size, if not in length. Vasquez didn’t shy away from this, amping up both the volume and the intensity of the playing. The result was a big wall of sound, which was fun even if certain things — like the piano effects, early in the piece — got drowned out. The overall result was like eating entire meal of French Fries. Yes, there were lots of great, delicious bites (the organ’s big entrance; the piano tinkling an echo of the composer’s “Carnival of the Animals”) but the whole wasn’t exactly nourishing.
The main event of the evening was Zukerman’s account of Beethoven’s Violin Concerto, which was played right before intermission. Zukerman came onstage with a long, loose-fitting, Nehru collar black shirt — which contrasted with Vasquez’s tux and white tie. The famous concerto in D-minor opens with timpani and winds. Vasquez brought in the strings smoothly and then Zukerman (playing without a score) meshed his violin with the whole band beautifully.
In his solo work, Zukerman brought the same relaxed, seemingly effortless style to Beethoven that he brought to Tchaikovsky in his concerts last weekend. His Guarneri violin sounded a touch steelier in this work, but then he evoked many different sounds, from sweet to astringent and from airy to earthy.
Zukerman played the commonly used Fritz Kreisler cadenza — and did so with panache, but his solo work never pulled the spotlight from Vasquez and the band. If one had to find a quibble with Vasquez’s take on the work, it would be that it sounded more Hadyn-esque and classical than robustly Romantic.
Zukerman appeared to appreciate the young maestro’s work in his debut; when the concerto was finished, the soloist immediately flashed him a big smile and began applauding. Vasquez earned a nice hand from the crowd, too. Zukerman’s curtain call prompted not only wild clapping, but also foot stomping by both the paying audience and members of the orchestra.
Everyone on hand clearly wanted an encore from Zukerman. But after his final bow, he left the stage and didn’t return. Those wanting more Pinchas will have to come and hear him play Bach at the third and final series of concerts in the Winter Festival this weekend — or Mendelssohn at a special chamber concert in Summit on Friday night.
James C. Taylor | For NJ Advance Media
January 23, 2017
As part of the New Jersey Symphony Orchestra’s Winter Festival, Christian Vásquez makes his US and orchestral debuts with violinist Pinchas Zukerman. Audiences also have the chance to hear both Christian and Pinchas in pre-concert Classical Conversations with NJSO Director of Artistic Planning, Patrick Chamberlain.
The duo give three concerts featuring Barber’s The School for Scandal, Beethoven’s Violin Concerto and Saint-Saëns Symphony No. 3 Organ. The concerts will take place at the Richardson Auditorium at Princeton (Jan 20), the New Jersey Performing Arts Center in Newark (Jan 21) and the Mayo Performing Arts Center in Morristown (Jan 22).
16 Jan 2017