Saturday, March 28, 2015
As part of the Music Director Candidate search, Leslie B. Dunner, conducted the Orlando Philharmonic Orchestra. I sketched an open rehearsal on March 20th at the Bob Carr Theatre. The Bob Carr used to be a Theatre but new orange letters were put up announcing it as a theater. Theater is the English spelling while Theatre is used everywhere else. There is no difference in meaning. Some Americans make distinctions, for instance, that a theater is a venue while theatre is an art form, or that a theater is a movie theater while a theatre is a drama venue. If that is the case, the Bob Carr had been demoted since the Dr. Phillips Performing Arts Center opened, from an art form to a venue.
When solo violinist Rimma Bergeron-Langlois walked on stage, she smiled at the Director and took her place standing in front of the violin section. I knew immediately that this would be an amazing rehearsal. She was relaxed and ready. Leslie B. Dunner is the final Music Director Candidate to conduct the Philharmonic. The Orlando Philharmonic Orchestra’s international search for a new Music Director was announced in the spring of 2013. Over 12 months, a committee comprised of orchestra musicians and community members spent over 2000+ hours to screen a slate over more than 275 candidates from around the world to choose five finalists, who each conducted a classical program during the 2014-2015 season. The orchestra plans to announce its new Music Director in Spring 2015. The finalists were, Alondra de la Parra, Steven Jarvi, Eric Jacobsen, Dirk Meyer, and Leslie B. Dunner.
After the first half of the rehearsal was over and the orchestra was taking a break, Michael McLeod came over to say hello. He joked with me that Denise Sudler had noticed that I had sketched her at my art opening at Maxine's and that she hadn't granted consent allowing me to sketch her visage. I countered that there was plausible deniabitity. She is just 1/2 inch high in the sketch, it could very well be Wendy Wallenberg who had posed several times to try and get in the sketch. I first met Wendy when I sat on stage in the Orlando Shakespeare Theatre and sketched the audience. She was in the front row. I'm surprised she didn't get up and stand on stage in front of me to block my view of the audience. She missed that opportunity.
Back to the rehearsal. Rimma's loose sweater flowed and her pony tail bobbed as she performed. The Sibelius concerto was complex crisp and uplifting. It is amazing how so many instruments can blend their sounds to express a universal joy that is greater than any single sound. Yet the violin rejoiced in it's liberating sound. There is a magic in experiencing a live orchestration like this. There were some fits and stops as Leslie inspired subtleties from different instruments. He was all about precision and purity of performance. Michael felt that Leslie was doing an amazing job conducting. I haven't seen all the conductors perform so I don't feel qualified to judge. I did see Alondra de la Parra conduct and I was swept away with her playful vigor. Only the musicians truly know which conductor inspired them to give their all. If you want to see what audiences are saying, you can find #OPOsNewMaestro. Let the voting begin.