Mission: To seek and share inspiration

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Q&A With Jesús López-Cobos


Jesús López-Cobos performs with the CSO March 31 and April 2


Fanfare Cincinnati: After serving as Music Director for 15 years, what is it like returning to the CSO, now as Music Director Emeritus?

Jesús López-Cobos: It is for me a very special occasion to come back to Cincinnati where I spent 15 wonderful years musically speaking. And this time I can celebrate the 30th Anniversary since I started as Music Director in 1986.

FC: Your recording of Mahler’s Ninth Symphony with the CSO has been heralded as one of the best. How will you be approaching this work for these live performances?

JL-C: Every approach to a masterwork is different. When we recorded Mahler’s Ninth Symphony I was much younger. In the past years I conducted this Symphony several times and every time is a new experience. I hope to bring this time the result of these experiences with the piece and in my life.

FC: You have been doing quite a lot traveling in Europe and North America the past several months, performing with orchestras such as the Los Angeles Philharmonic, Opéra Royal de Wallonie and the Vienna Staatsoper. What have been some of your recent performance highlights?

JL-C: You named some of them. Los Angeles, the Vienna Staatsoper but also I enjoyed very much to conduct in Tokyo the NHK Orchestra, the Orchestra de Paris in its new home (the Philharmonie), the Bolshoi Orchestra and the Gurzenich Orchestra in Köln.

FC: What are you most looking forward to when you return to Cincinnati?

JL-C: To meet all the friends in the Orchestra (I am sure that there are still many from my years there) and also outside the Orchestra, although I am sad that two very important people are no longer alive: Mrs. Corbett and Mrs Nippert!

FC: The CSO recently adapted the following mission statement: “To seek and share inspiration.” Where do you seek and find inspiration?

JL-C: I seek and find inspiration in the nature and in the good people. 

FC: What hobbies or other interests fill your time when you’re not conducting?

JL-C:My hobby is my profession.

FC: What projects or performances are on the horizon for you?

JL-C: In this trip to America I will meet again the Seattle Orchestra and the Minnesota Orchestra but also I will conduct at the Casals Festival in Puerto Rico on the occasion of its 60th anniversary. Further I will visit for the first time China and the Orchestras of Peking, Shanghai, Guangzhou and Hangzhou. In September I will be back in Tokyo to conduct four performances of Tristan and Isolde and one concert with the Yomiuri Orchestra. In 2017 I look forward to go back to the NHK in Tokyo and to the Chicago Symphony.

FC: Anything else you’d like to add?

JL-C: My wish is to see my beloved Cincinnati Symphony going back to a renovated Music Hall and maybe to still have the chance to conduct there in the future if God gives me health and energy.