Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Will Work for Contrasts

Yesterday I went with Alon to Sakhnin in the Galilee, where we sat with the Sufi elders and spoke with them about football.

Today I attended master class with 26 years old Venezuelan conductor Gustavo Dudamel, who is considered a genius and the next great conductor in music history.

Within an hour I became convinced he's just that grand, and also that life is one crazy gift.


Rahul said...

Holy shit - You attended a master class with him?! Did he look like that the entire time?

Yuval said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Yuval said...

More or less, he's very animated, a real dancer, actually. I caught him conducting the basses and celli with his stomach while his hands conduct the wind instruments. He uses his heels too, to lift him up and drop him down.

He wasn't dressed like that, though. This photo is from Google. He was in a striped golf shirt. The orchestra was all in casual black. I didn't put this into this in my article, but there's nothing sexier than an orchestra of young musicians in casual black.

The piece they were working on was Rimsky-Korsakov's Shehrezade. He later explained to me that he didn't know this was going to be it. He was handed the score as he entered symphony hall. Turns out he hasn't worked on Shehrezade since the earliest days of his career. I asked him whether he can just pick up any score and put life into it like that within three hours. He said: "When you love music, anything is possible".

The best part of the evening, though, was when two students training to be conductors came into his room and asked him for autographs on their scores of Beethoven's 5th, which they are going to conduct at a competition. Dudamel decided to give them tips, and the more tips he gave, the more daring they were, he was literally suggesting a gentle latinization of an element in the third movement. The head of the Tel-Aviv University music school finally interupted this miseducation, saying: "No! Not now! Maybe later in your careers!"
Gotta love a dangerous artistic mind.

Did you ever get to witness him conduct, Rahul? I heard he was with the New York Philharomonic recently.

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