First day with the new boss

We had our first rehearsal today for our first concert with our Music
Director designate, Edo de Waart. That by itself was a little unusual;
most orchestras have worked for their new Music Directors before they
were named Music Directors in the first place (our concertmaster Frank
Almond has written a comprehensive explanation of this state of affairs
for Drew McManus’ website). We had two rehearsals before he was named
just to make sure that we weren’t making a Michael Gielen/Cincinnati
kind of mistake. But that was it.

So there was definitely a “first day at a new school” feeling to the occasion. But it all seemed to go very well. The orchestra was quite excited (no doubt there was some apprehension mixed in, but it felt like mostly excitement) and Edo seemed pleased to be with us.

The program for the week is the Holst Planets and the Strauss wind serenade and the Metamorphen. The Holst is the only piece that was on the program before Edo was named to conduct this week; I think because there’s a traveling NASA AV event associated with the performance that had been in the works for a while. 

I had played under Edo many years ago for about half a season. I don’t remember him being nearly as relaxed and even funny as he was today. It was all very professional, of course, but rather charming too. He rehearses in detail and seems concerned about pitch and balance in particular. And there were some interesting ideas, especially in the big hymn in the Jupiter movement, even though the Holst is not a piece that lends itself to interesting interpretations.

So things went very well. We’ve got two rehearsals tomorrow, a high school concert Thursday morning with the Holst (with Edo conducting, no less) and the same program in the evening, another rehearsal on Friday morning, and the full program Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. It should be a good week.


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