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tv   Charlie Rose  Bloomberg  February 13, 2016 8:00pm-9:01pm EST

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announcer: from our studios in new york city, this is "charlie rose." charlie: alan gilbert is here. he has served as the music director of the new york philharmonic since 2009. he announced last year that he would step down from the post in the summer of 2017. contemporary music has been a focus of his tenure. he has launched several initiatives, including biennial. a critic wrote, "more than any of his predecessors since leonard bernstein, he has tried to expand the template of what a major american orchestra can be."
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here is a look at him conducting stravinsky's "petrushka." ♪ [stravinsky's "petrushka" playing]
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charlie: there it is. the new york philharmonic celebrates its 175th anniversary this year. i'm pleased to have alan gilbert at this table. welcome. alan: thank you very much. charlie: you have the chance to do a kind of valedictory conversation about your time here at the philharmonic. alan: it cracks me up to see that video of "petrushka." even now, after we've done that and a number of other products that have been out of the box, in a way that have hopefully made it a bigger box, it is sort of what we do, it is still amazing to me that we do that at the new york philharmonic. those are the musicians of the new york philharmonic. they are inhabiting the roles of the ballet. stravinsky wrote the story with this mad outdoor scene in winter, russia.
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you saw my resplendent silk jacket. 10 years ago -- even 10 years ago, honestly, and i know the orchestra well and i have four a long time, i couldn't have imagined that the new york phil harmonic could do something like this. i announced i'm leaving. i'm looking back at the past. i'm really proud. this is not what the orchestra used to be. since the idea is to bring the great music in the orchestral repertoire to life as vividly as possible -- this was a production of "petrushka" that really told the story. it broke down barriers. the musicians were able to get down of their traditional roles that they have in front of the audience. forgive me, but i thought that was pretty cool. charlie: tell me, is that part of what you intended to do? alan: the short answer is yes.
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charlie: to change the new york philharmonic? alan: yeah. you know, it sounds really cheeky to think about changing the paradigm that has been in existence and has been successful. it has been iconic for all of these years. charlie: 175. alan: not just the new york philharmonic, but orchestras with a capital "o." what i felt was something needs to change, and there are a number of reasons for that. the place that music and the arts inhabit in society today is different from what it was even 20, 30 years ago. in any case, a priori, i've wanted to keep the artform fresh. the way that orchestras interact
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with the public that we serve has needed to change. i couldn't talk about it when i started, in the way that i think i can now, because we have a track record. at the beginning, if i come in and said, you know what? throw out the paradigm, it's all going to be different now. people understandably would have what is he talking about? this is the new york philharmonic. how do you improve something that is virtually perfect already? orchestras need to keep music alive. i find it interesting that so much has been made of the programming, the contemporary music. you referred to it in the intro. i actually haven't done more contemporary music than my predecessors, but we have tried not to slip anything by. when we do something, we present it with full confidence and with
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full support of the entire institution. there is a mixed message that orchestras -- you know, you even see it today. give when they engage in what i call the bolero effect. they will put a new piece in the program. they will put something at the end of the program, the message being that we don't quite believe in that. i think that means there is a kind of tokenism that is going on. we have done a lot of different repertoire. everything we have done, we have tried to really fit into the big picture, the context, so that when we play music, the audiences can feel that we are really behind it. i want the new york philharmonic to be the center of the cultural dialogue. charlie: here is what you said about music, an important
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about orchestras in the 24th century, a new paradigm/ "music helps define what it means to be human. orchestras will continue to do what they have always done, play powerful, intriguing, uplifting, thought-provoking music. but the challenges facing people in today's world call for something new in the way that music and musicians can touch people's lives on all levels -- emotionally and spiritually, of course, but also socially, psychologically. music has an internal power to move us. and increasingly, schools and professional music groups are embracing the new role that musicians can fill in touching people's lives, both in and out of the concert hall." alan: it's not a new idea. i don't claim to be rethinking something -- creating something that has not existed before. yo-yo ma is a good friend of mine. i know you know him well. he has been very inspiring to me in this last period.
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he has spoken to me. he said, you know what, alan, you have been music director of the new york philharmonic. you have been there, you have done that, it's great what you have done, but now, think about what you can do to use music and the platform that you and other musicians occupying to make the world a better place. he has actively pushed me to think about these things. and again, it is nothing new. music has always been the international language, the way for people to communicate without words. and it goes straight to the heart. but in the world today, which i think we agree faces unprecedented challenges -- a shared humanity, some language that can actually show that we are connected is more important than ever before. charlie: because of the conflict around the world, because of the challenges --
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alan: because of this idea of us and them. the refugee crisis, immigration. there are so many divisions that are being arbitrarily written and drawn in the sand. music can truly cross these boundaries. i'm not here to talk politics. i think it is amazing what orchestras are doing. i have been speaking to the deputy secretary-general at the u.n., and he has been using words all the time to a diplomatic end. we are talking about a project that will bring music into the diplomatic realm, a way of reinforcing the message of communication and harmony, shared humanity, with music, using, essentially, music as the peaceful version of the peacekeeping forces.
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for me, this has been very exciting. i'm going to continue conducting orchestras. i will even continue conducting at the new york philharmonic, but, very consciously, to think about ways we can bring musicians together from disparate backgrounds, from places where you wouldn't expect musicians to come from -- charlie: on what podium are you going to do that? alan: hopefully, it won't only be a response to crisis. there will be reasons to come together. there will be messages that contradict the events and actions that have happened. when something great happens, like the climate accord, to actually come together and play in a way that shows, yeah, we achieved something together as people. i'm hoping from a crisis standpoint, there won't be many opportunities for the group to play. but there is a very strong message if we think on a global scale and get musicians together
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to play on maybe what was a battlefield or a place where a bomb had gone off -- it would be great to be up to play in a place like that. i think taking musicians under the concert hall and putting them in, let's say, real-life -- charlie: you mean bring a particular orchestra or bringing a new orchestra, bringing the diversity of musicians around the world and making them part of a particular event? alan: that's my particular lofty ambition. to say there is interest would be understating the case. there is a desperate feeling
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among my colleagues of wanting to do something and feeling frustrated because we are not quite sure how to do it. we are just musicians, you know? charlie: this is akin to the idea that, what comes out of this, that is an indication of where you want to be in the next five years. alan: i would like to continue my life as a musician, as a conductor, but in a very focused and directed way use the connections, the cloud, the platform that i have a rally musicians from around the world, and not only from the classical world, i should say, to be able to come together and spread a message of peace and harmony. and, you know, my favorite cartoon about the refugee crisis was this little boat looking up at this huge police guy, and they say, where are you from? "earth." that's really where we are all from. charlie: why couldn't you do that as the director of the new york philharmonic question mark why couldn't those things go
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why couldn't those things go together? alan: they could. you choose your battle. the new york phil harmonic the new york philharmonic famously played in north korea. despite where we are now, i think that was a door opening statement. charlie: matter what conflict there exists between nations -- no matter what conflict there exists between nations, we can always come together? alan: exactly. it was possible for the new york phil to show up in pyongyang and they were able to do what they do at the new york philharmonic and is communicated with the people. it was a select audience, to be fair. people from a complete different
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culture and background. there was a moment of true, human connection. charlie: they used to have at the state department, u.s. state department, ambassadors of goodwill. they would sponsor all of these things. maybe it is a better idea that it doesn't come from the u.s. government, but from cultural institutions like the new york philharmonic. it does seem like a good idea, because culture has the capacity to transcend politics. at the same time, politics is about culture. alan: it is inextricably connected. i think it is a more powerful message if it is not connected with politics or political organizations that may have baggage. i was just going to say that the idea is a little bit included in the lecture that i gave, which talks about the new position that orchestras can occupy in the world today. orchestras -- sorry to get kind of historical and boring on you.
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orchestras give concerts. that's what they've always done. that's what they will continue to do. but now, partly because it has become necessary to ensure the future of orchestras, practically speaking. there is less public support. public schools are not providing classical education. they used to be -- it used to be that every high school had an orchestra. now you just study an instrument, you almost, by definition, have to go outside of public school. charlie: why is that? alan: if part of a shift of priorities, a deep-rooted it is part of a shift of priorities, a deep-rooted cultural shift. part of it is the choices people have for entertainment are much broader, more available. there is an instant gratification possible.
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you don't have to go to the concert hall to hear a concert. there are a lot of things that have been going on. but in short, orchestras have, i think appropriately, picked up the slack and become so much more than simply organizations that present concerts. they are -- the way i think about it is orchestras can be a true resource on so many levels, not only musical, but in education, in building bridges within the cities, the communities that they serve. that's one thing that has been fairly new at the new york philharmonic. we have, for a long time, been a little bit of an island in the city. now, very actively, we have reached out to museums, to other schools, to other -- charlie: saying what? alan: that we want to work together, that we, together, can provide something for the city that will be what any of us could do alone. charlie: the new york opera? alan: we've done a lot of opera. i happen to love opera. that's something i really am focused -- in addition to whatever happens with this. charlie: let me ask you something.
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why did you choose to leave now? you have said it before that there is going to be a renovation over there. it is becoming the david geffen. alan: it is no longer the avery fisher hall. it's already the david geffen hall. the hall is going to become really renovated. it's going to be in it is going to be a very interesting time for the new york the harmonic. they are going to be homeless, peripatetic. they will have to find places to play during this renovation period and will have to work on continuing to function as an orchestra and having a connection to the audience. i'm very excited about the announcement. i think it is right for one
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person to see this process through from the beginning today -- from the beginning to end. as much as i love the orchestra and as powerful as the connection is, it seems like a logical time. it felt like if i had extended even a year or two longer, then it would have been a much longer span of time. we were talking about opera. i'm looking forward to doing more opera. i like opera because i like opera. i like telling stories to her philosophically, it's been a very useful way for me to bring i like telling stories. philosophically, it's been a very useful way to bring many elements together. alan: we have a lovely house outside of stockholm. my wife is swedish. my kids are bilingual. a lot of what i do already is in europe, so we may move back, but our connections to new york are incredibly strong.
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the honest answer to that is i'm not yet sure. charlie: most people in your world, like in the world of opera, know where they are going to be in the next five years. they know where they will be performing in 2020. alan: actually, i'm one of those people as well. my schedule is booked far into the future, but in terms of where i will be based, if i decide to take a position, and i am mulling over a couple of offers -- charlie: what kind of position might you take, in addition to this idea you have of having music play a significant role in a world of conflict? alan: honestly, having worked at the new york philharmonic, one of the iconic orchestras, it has been a joy, it has been a challenge, it has been unbelievably intense, and, i daresay, perhaps more all-consuming and difficult than i have hopefully made it look. i'm very interested to do
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something else as far as a position goes, and it may be opera, because that would be a totally different thing. i haven't totally got my hands on -- charlie: but you are entertaining operas, too? alan: i am. the opera ones are the ones that i am intrigued by. charlie: the director of the new york opera said "i think alan has fundamentally changed the dna of the philharmonic." if he is right, how have you done that? alan: the style with which i have worked in the orchestra, i think has been a soft touch. i have not been prone to histrionics, typical maestro-behavior. the how has been hopefully calm, maybe deceptively calm. charlie: and the what? alan: i have worked on changing
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the expectation of the musicians have about what their job means. you saw the "petrushka" video. it would have been inconceivable if i had said in my first year, for this, you are going to have to memorize this passage of music, stand up and dance around, and, oh, you are going to be wearing silly hats, it would have been a flat-out no. we had to build up to it. we had a production in my first year which, very gently -- and this was a conscious progression i had in mind, which suggested to the musicians, at this point, you're going to crumple of pieces of paper and throw them at me, the conductor. i knew that was something they would be happy to do. little by little, they have shifted their idea of what is normal, the role of the musician, breaking down the fourth wall on the stage.
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how we interact with our audience offstage -- the expectation that musicians have to do more than play music and also advocate for music itself. all of these things -- it is interesting to me now after eight years to look back, because there has been a progression. things have changed. if i said to the musicians, we are going to do a project and you are going to have to wear a costume, that is now part of the course. that is something we had to build up to. from the audience perspective, they are also not completely shocked to see that. they understand that, within the walls of the david geffen hall, unusual things happen. art, music that they have known in a certain way is going to be redefined. people have known and loved "petrushka" for years without knowing the story, i am pretty sure. without having any idea what it's about, which is fine. now, not only was it a ballet, we had a dancer, we had
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a bit years, we had unique elements onstage, but the musicians themselves went out of themselves and created something that was utterly new, literally has never been seen before. ♪
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charlie: just to go off on a tangent for a second, when you are asked to conduct the great orchestras of the world as a guest conductor, what do they
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want you to do? do they want you to bring these ideas to them, or do they want you to come in and conduct -- alan: that's a very good question. it's a little bit of both. it depends on the nature of the relationship that exists. so, for example, if i go to a new orchestra, it would be very surprising to me if they asked me to bring this production of "petrushka," because it is still out there. not the new york philharmonic, but in the world at large, it's an unusual product. the berlin philharmonic, simon rattle -- he specifically asked me, i saw you did this production, would you do this with us? and it is a piece that is written in berlin, 1980's.
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it's in reaction to the heavy metal rock group that has lots of loud instruments, stations all around the room where musicians have to process and play instruments found from junkyards. it is super cutting edge. to do that anywhere is pretty radical. charlie: simon rattle wanted you to do that at the berlin philharmonic? alan: he wanted to do pieces that celebrate space, the space in which music is made. i said, i will do it, but you have to promise the musicians, the entire stage crew, the publicity department -- everybody has to buy into this. this is something either you are in or you are out. it won't work as a halfway project. charlie: how can you promise him that without knowing his musicians? alan: i do know his musicians. that's why in a place like berlin it was possible to do
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that. he asked me about other pieces that he just announced he is doing. i'm hoping it's not a coincidence. there are other people who are trying to do this. when i go as a guest conductor, if it is appropriate, of course i love to bring these new ideas. you have to build up to it. that is something that has taken 7, 8 years new york philharmonic. charlie: "how much of gilbert's tenure is assessed is tied to one's conception of what a music director of a major american orchestra should be. of course, the core work involves maintaining the skills of the players and giving excellent performances, but a music director should also be a visionary, like a curator, the person who determines that one wing of the repertory needs development or that a particular collection should be placed in storage for a bit.
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this person must take charge of outreach and education, foster relationships with living composers, and be willing to rethink the protocols of concert life." it sounds to me like you would say that is everything i was doing. alan: that is actually, i think, a very apt description of an elusive subject, what a music director is and can be. the new york philharmonic is an orchestra that didn't need musical development, in a way. the players are unparalleled. they play so beautifully together. they know how to listen. it's always fun when i see guest conductors -- even guest conductors who are accustomed to conducting other great orchestras -- they come to the new york philharmonic -- the first rehearsal is frightening. they think, what am i going to say now? it sounds incredible. it already sounds better than
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most concerts i've given at the first rehearsal. that having been said, orchestras do need constant care. despite all of the philosophical, programmatic things i have tried to bring, at the end of the day, how the orchestra plays is the most important thing. and that requires constant care. how the orchestra plays is the most important thing. charlie: how it plays. alan: and that requires constant care. charlie: how it plays rather than what it plays. alan: at the end of the day, and this may be surprising to some people, it's how it plays. it doesn't matter what you play if the audience can feel 100% engagement from the musicians. real engagement. i mean life-and-death, completely empty your heart commitment. and if that can happen, it's not that it doesn't matter what you play, but anything will communicate. charlie: you found that when you got there?
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alan: i'm really happy that the orchestra is more and more moving when they play. they love music. i mean, they always have, but it's a hard job. i grew up around the philharmonic. my parents were serious professionals. they took their jobs incredibly seriously, but i know how it was when they came home. they were tired. they were never -- honestly, they were never complaining about work, but it's a slog. it's a hard job. every week a different program. to have a kind of once-in-a-lifetime inspiration and excitement in a week that is just one of 30 in a row, a week that may have another special program, a benefit, and you have to take your kids to school, it's a job. to give that kind of performance
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where it's life-and-death at nothing else matters, it's not so easy. the new york philharmonic is not helped by the fact, in a way, that it's in new york because it's being compared, implicitly, maybe not even consciously, against the other great orchestras of the world. orchestras that may not be there great but are playing their very best. if a touring orchestra plays in new york, they work it out in other cities until it's ready for new york. we play the next program come hell or high water. we are judged, as we should be, by the same standard. charlie: would you change any of this? alan: i actually think there are too many concerts. it's a tricky equation of revenue and ticket sales, but i think there are too many programs. i think the new york
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philharmonic plays too much music in a season. i would like to see a schedule that is not as heavily packed for the new york philharmonic. they might kill me at the philharmonic for saying this, the management, because you need a certain amount of revenue to play with. it's difficult, if not impossible, to play a piece with full energy if you're exhausted. charlie: you said they need to invest in the new portfolio. alan: exactly. charlie: and to do that, you have to lessen the load. alan: i think practically speaking it is probably the only way.
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charlie: does the music we know and love from the composers we know and love suffer at all from this? alan: what do you mean by suffer? charlie: meaning it will not be played as much. alan: no. charlie: because you want to make room for this -- alan: actually, that would be a complete misunderstanding of where i'm coming from because the music that is part of the canon of orchestra repertoires, beethoven symphonies, it's hard to imagine anything better than the symphonies. it's what orchestras can and should be playing often. but to only play that music would be the death of it. even somebody who thinks, oh, i only want to hear beethoven up a time, will have their opinion of beethoven improved by hearing
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other things. i actually think that the challenge is more on the other side. i think it is difficult to make the case still that new music and music today has a rightful place in the repertoire of orchestras. i think it's actually the other way around. i think beethoven will be stronger if the composers of today are celebrated. there is a lot more to presenting new music than identifying masterpieces. part of the reason we play new music is to keep the field of composition alive and fresh.
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if you play one contemporary composers music, in some sense, you are inspiring all contemporary composers to continue to suffer and struggle with the act of composition, which is the hardest and most noble thing that any musician does. charlie: and the quality of it today is? alan: it is mixed, as it always has been throughout history. there are great pieces being written today. we have had wonderful luck with our composers in residence. charlie: you are saying, because you recognize them, they make the work of all those geniuses of the past, they give it something they need for a more complete repertoire. alan: they also create a context in which it is possible to
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appreciate older masterpieces in a new way. reminding audiences today that composition is a process is very important. it's possible to think of these old, iconic masterpieces as somehow having always been there. they just hang out in the space and they are masterpieces. charlie: so, there are composers composing music today which is every bit as good as some of the best music that has ever been composed, but it takes time to be recognized is that? alan: i think there will be pieces being written today that will gain their rightful place in the canon of timeless orchestral masterpieces. i do think appreciation takes time. the right of spring was a famous failure when it premiered. now, no one questions it. charlie: what changed? alan: many masterpieces in music, in literature, in visual
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arts, are ahead of their time. i think anything that is great, by definition, is changing people's expectations, and since there is such a comfortable repertoire of orchestral masterpieces that are very pleasant to listen to, it's possible to go a long, long time only listening to those pieces. if you heard a new mozart symphony in mozart's time, undoubtedly, it was the language of mozart and you could dive right into it without any ramp up time. today, you hear a piece and it might be for silence in orchestra, it might be rich, it might be tonal. getting into new pieces is daunting and difficult. sometimes, i like to play things twice because the second time
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through you inevitably get more because you have already accustomed your ear to the new language. almost by definition, anything that is great has an element of newness to it. and newness is harder now than i think ever before to approach in music. it was never that way until the last 50 years. ♪
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charlie: here is what you have said. musical quality, charisma, and artistic magic are among the desirable qualities for a conductor. what is artistic magic? alan: there was a time about 20 years ago when i was studying in school in which there was a strong sense that there was a right way to approach music. the original instruments movement, original style, performance practice. there was a very dogmatic approach that, happily, i think has kind of swung back to a more reasonable approach. i actually think that you can learn a lot from these scholarly approaches to music making,
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phrasing, bowing, the right way to do it, but at the end of the day, it doesn't really matter how you play something. it's the matter of giving it your full sincerity in bringing something fresh to the equation. there so many ways to be a musician, so many ways to be a conductor, so many ways to approach any given piece. what i mean by artistic magic is something that is fresh and convincing, what ever that means. it's different for each person. charlie: people call that the x factor. alan: that's exactly what i'm talking about. charlie: and musical quality is simply, what? musicianship? alan: there is a technique involved. there is a competence one needs
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to achieve. it's great to have ideas, but if you can't execute them in a way that doesn't take away from the focus of the artistic message, then it's not quite good enough. there is an aspect of technical competence, but beyond that, it's the x factor. charlie: it's about the heart. alan: absolutely. charlie: you've said one mark of a great composer is how the sound is recognizable, even through a short snippet of music. you can recognize sound in a short snippet in your ear. alan: teaching at juilliard is one of i favorite things to do. charlie: because? alan: i love to work with students because sometimes you can get the most positive, enthusiastic energy from student musicians. i teach conducting, and we have been doing unusual repertoire. fourth symphony, a strange
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piece, but amazingly, you hear one measure and you think -- that's him. or if you hear another piece from one of the great composers who died a couple of years ago, one of the great composers of the 20th century, you hear one measure of his music -- that's him. to me, that's the measure of a great composer. charlie: thinking of sound, can you take a great piece and hear it by five of the great orchestras of the world and tell me which orchestra is playing? alan: not necessarily because there are other ingredients in the mix. who is conducting, what hall they are playing in. charlie: who is conducting changes the sound? alan: you can go to a class
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where four or five conductors stand in front of an orchestra. within one note of a new conductor standing on the podium, the sound is incredibly changed. it's uncanny. that's what conducting is. it's -- in a way, it's not inexplicable because you can see that the gesture can have different kinds of weight. charlie: in terms of size, speed, everything else. intensity. it communicates directly to the musician. alan: and it's unavoidable. even if the musician says i am not going to play differently, they could not do it. the constitution of your hand, and everybody is different. there is a different kind of emotional state. charlie: is it also different in terms of you doing the same
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thing in your mind, conducting a piece, and the orchestra says we are seeing the same conductor, but it will be different on one night than another night? alan: absolutely. it changes all the time. and now i have gotten to the point with the philharmonic where i am circling back to pieces. i did beethoven's seventh in my first year and again this year. i try not to repeat pieces too often, but when we did beethoven's seventh, it sounded completely different. without consciously thinking i would change my approach, i did. the other thing in terms of the scientific approach of this question, if you do the same piece -- sometimes it happens i will do the same piece one week with one orchestra and another week with another orchestra, the
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piece changes because what the musicians bring changes the chemistry. always the same river, always different. charlie: i saw in the new york times in the last 10 days a recognition of what leonard bernstein did for young people explaining music. you can get all of them on youtube. do we need more of that to somehow heighten the experience and appetite for classical music? alan: i think that at the end of the day, the long story of building up audiences over an extended time is the time frame that we both have to be talking about, getting them when they are young. charlie: exactly. and we should be motivated to do that. alan: we are all trying in different ways to different degrees.
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one of the questions i am very concerned by and interested in is the question of minority participation in classical music. there are very few black musicians in orchestras. you see not so many black people in the audience. it's not representative of our society. alan: is it because people like you have not paid as much attention to it or viewed it with as much urgency as it would need? charlie: i think that is part of it. it's a cultural question of building up audiences. right now, we are at a place where something has to break into the cycle. if you go to a concert hall -- we talk about minorities. there is not a lack of minority representation when it comes to asians. so if you go to a concert hall,
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you see that. you think ok, that's something i can connect to. but on a superficial, visual level, there are not so many black musicians, and that's a tough problem. it's something we talk about a lot. but again, you're going to have to look at a long time frame. we are doing what we can. if you look at the music program that famously produced dudamel and many other interesting musicians, now and only now you're starting to see musicians around the world who are products of that system in venezuela. charlie: were they doing something in venezuela at the time that they are not doing in the u.s. today? alan: absolutely. it was a wide program with thousands of participants. but it has taken years for the musicians to end up around the
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world. if you're willing to plant the first seed and trusted that it won't sprout for years but that it will grow, that is the next frontier. hopefully, more and more people will actually do something about it. charlie: what do you think about mozart in the jungle? alan: well, there is one episode i am particularly fond of. charlie: it's on amazon. alan: it's interesting, because the book it's based on is something we were all aware of years ago, and it seems like kind of a soap opera look at the music world.
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some of it we recognize, and some of that we think, i have never seen that, i only wish i had. but now it is striking a chord. and i am happy that it's doing so well. people love it. it's a very real situation. orchestras can function as a microcosm of society. it's a specific, limited field in a way, but the interactions are human, and i think a lot of people can identify with them. charlie: this is beethoven's symphony number seven, opening night gala concert in september, 2015. here it is. look and listen, and then tell us what you felt and saw when you conducted this music. here it is. ♪
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alan: still a great piece. charlie: you selected it as the opening gala concert. alan: there is a reason why these pieces are forever. that's actually the last piece i conducted in concert. i was in tokyo last week, and as many times as you do a piece like beethoven's seventh, you find new things. it sounds trite, and away, but it never feels old. i did a project in london. we are not completely finished, but we are recording all the beethoven piano concertos. we spent a very intense week.
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to talk about beethoven, to spend that many hours in a week with one composer would be almost unimaginable except with someone like beethoven. we have all done these pieces we know how they go. we think we have somehow mastered the piece, but never. it always feeds you. you always feel that if you don't give 100%, you are not going to be adequate. it's the same for an audience member. you hear a piece that you know and love. it can move you in such an incredibly powerful way every time, even the same beethoven's seventh symphony. i mentioned earlier, to do beethoven early in my time and now bring it back, it's fun. it looks different to me. the way i interact with the orchestra, there is trust.
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we have lived through something together. i felt quite moved in a way to see this because it's really what we try for. we try to give sincere performances of everything we do, and we are lucky to be able to try. charlie: here is my message for you. don't worry about composing nor not composing. you should always strive to accomplish difficult challenges. but take advantage of all the tools we have today. the capacity to talk, explain, and communicate music as you did in that speech is a magical gift.
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the ability to communicate about music as well as with music is a rare and important quality, and you should make dam sure that you engage, employ, and do all that you can with that. you would go a long way without advice from me. alan: it's important to hear. i must say, that i am allowing myself to step outside of myself and think consciously or unconsciously about the gift that i have been given. hopefully, i still have some good years in me. it has been a great run. i am happy that a lot of people are similarly interested in taking the same journey because music is something that can touch all of us. charlie: thank you. alan: thanks, charlie. charlie: alan gilbert for the hour.
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thank you for joining us. see you next time. ♪
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