Conductor Giancarlo Guerrero, the Music Director of the Nashville Symphony Orchestra, is the final guest conductor for Indiana University’s Jacobs School of Music’s Festival Orchestra. WFIU’s George Walker asked him about conducting student groups and also asked for a bit of a look into the orchestra’s kitchen, the sectional rehearsals.
Maestro, you’ve worked regularly and as a guest with professional orchestras in North America, South American and Europe. Is there something special about conducting this orchestra? “Yes, in fact I very much like conducting young players, some even younger than these college students. They bring a freshness that I very much enjoy. Pieces that may even seem a bit worn to a veteran orchestra are new for them. They love the challenge and they’re willing to try anything.”
I see that you have sectional rehearsals actually scheduled before you meet with the whole orchestra. What happens here? “Well, really this is where the dirty work gets done. It’s here that the section leaders go over a piece, sometimes note for note. For instance Alexander Kerr, the concert master will be leading the violins and discussing bowing and even coaching them in anticipation of the dynamics and the tempos that I’ll be asking for.”
You’ve chosen a standard, Berlioz “Symphony Fantastique” and a much less familiar piece the sixth of Jean Sibelius’s symphonies. “Yes, once we had a standard, a “war horse” if you will, I felt comfortable in picking something that’s much less well know. Sibelius’ sixth symphony is played much less frequently that his others and I think that it’s one on the master pieces of the twentieth century. I’m very happy to introduce these young musicians and the audience to this great work.”