MM: What are you most looking forward to about conducting this program?
CR: I’m excited that it features not only some of my favorite music (Strauss’ Don Juan and Prokofiev’s Fifth Symphony), but also a world premiere by one of our generation’s most interesting composers, Andrew Norman. It’s a cello concerto for Johannes Moser, a phenomenal cellist.
MM: What’s an element of conducting that you think audiences would be interested to learn?
CR: It’s important for me to know the intention of the composer and then to decide how to bring this out in the performance, through pacing, instrumental balance and embodying the music. There is a lot going on behind the scenes before the audience ever witnesses a concert.
MM: What is the most important thing you learned as music director of the SFS Youth Orchestra?
CR: I learned a lot from them and also, of course, from the mentors and coaches at the S.F. Symphony, like how to explain technical issues in depth for each instrument (e.g., bow technique for the strings).
MM: Where are you and the SFS Youth Orchestra headed on your forthcoming tour?
CR: There will be about five or six concerts, three of which are confirmed: we’re playing at the Elbphilharmonie in Hamburg (maybe one of the most exciting new venues in the world), at the Berlin Philharmonie and in Budapest during an open-air summer festival. I couldn’t be more thrilled for the musicians of the Youth Orchestra (and for me) to get this opportunity to play in the best halls and to make experiences that will never be forgotten.
January 24–26 at Davies Symphony Hall.