Conductor Anne Manson with composer Philip Glass (Corey Weaver)
The Manitoba Chamber Orchestra kicks off the 2011/2012 season with an all-Philip Glass program, Wednesday 7:30 p.m. at Westminster United Church. Music Director Anne Manson remembers her first encounter with one of the most well known contemporary conductors of today.I'll never forget the first time I opened the score of Philip Glass' opera, Orphee. (I even remember where I was at the time: it was the top floor of a building in Lincoln Center; I was between rehearsals for Ives Fourth Symphony at the Juilliard School.)
I thought: "What am I going to do with this?!" I had never done a piece of Philip's before. Well, the answer was, in part, don't do too much. I learned through rehearsing and performing Orphee just to let the music live and breathe and not fuss with it too much. What happens is that its natural drive, and ebb and flow starts to emerge as you live with it.
The starting point of this concert with the MCO was in fact those performances of Orphee, which I recorded two years ago in Portland. I conducted the Dress Rehearsal with Philip sitting right behind me, and myself wondering/hoping that he would like what he heard, because the piece was being recorded at that very moment. No time to make adjustments!
The picture above was taken at the break in the rehearsal when we grabbed a few minutes to talk about the score. I was nervous, because I take a somewhat free and rubato-filled approach to the second act. I wasn't sure what Philip would think about that, but he loved it! He was his usual warm, enthusiastic and encouraging self, which really helped us get off to a great start.
After the "Orphee" recording was released, I met with Richard Guerin from Philip's recording company, Orange Mountain Music, to talk about other recording projects. Of course I wanted to do something with the MCO, and that is why we are about to embark on a Philip Glass tour and recording in the Glenn Gould Studio in Toronto. What an exciting project!
I always love touring with the MCO - it's these times in which we most get to refine and experiment with what we are doing. And it's the first commercial recording we'll make together.
Anne Manson (Dario Acosta)
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