If It Sounds Good, It Is Good! | October 2016


If It Sounds Good, It Is Good! | October 2016

There’s an old cartoon still floating around the internet that depicts a conductor at the podium looking at the score, upon which is printed in big letters: “Wave the stick until the music stops, then turn around and bow.” HA! Although conducting a concert is certainly the most thrilling part of my job, conductors spend the vast majority of their time in preparation for those ecstatic couple of hours each week.

As Conductor of the Cincinnati Pops, I dedicate a big chunk of time studying the scores to internalize every entrance, time signature and dynamic marking. The family knows when it’s concert week—the coffee pot is out all day and the dining room table is a heap of scores! My right-hand man at the Pops is Sam Strater, our Artistic Administrator, with whom I am in constant contact, choosing repertoire for upcoming programs, selecting our guest artists and planning special projects, like our Asia Tour this spring. I also work with our team of arrangers to develop and refine our unique Pops sound as they continually create new charts for our orchestra. When I’m not taking care of the details about the concerts themselves, I’m out in the community as “The Pops Guy,” teaching masterclasses, guest conducting school orchestras and working with incredible local ensembles.

In addition to the BIG gig at the Pops, I serve as Music Director of the Hilton Head Symphony Orchestra where I’m strictly “classical.” There I get to share my love of Haydn, Mendelssohn and Brahms, and as conductor of the Hilton Head International Piano Competition, I have my finger on the pulse of some of the most amazing rising stars of the piano world. I am also the Principal Pops Conductor of the Buffalo Philharmonic, where it’s a treat to share many of the artists I have developed relationships with in Cincinnati and discover new talent to bring here.

I’m also invited to guest conduct other orchestras across the continent, including frequent appearances in Vancouver, Toronto and LA. This month I’m visiting Salt Lake City for the first time, leading the Utah Symphony in selections from the Pops’ Superheroes! recording. That means our very talented Associate Conductor, Keitaro Harada, has the pleasure of leading the Pops and the incredible Vanessa Williams this month. I wish I could be there to sit back and enjoy it myself, but I’ll be counting on you to enjoy it on my behalf!