Cristian Macelaru will conduct the San Diego Symphony on Friday, November 18, 2016 in a “Beyond the Score” performance (Photo credit: Sorin Popa)
Feature: Conductor Cristian Macelaru on why music is the true equalizer
San Diego Union-Tribune
By Michael James Rocha
November 14, 2016
Cristian Macelaru sees music as something that can change us.
“Art speaks of who we are, what we have achieved,” said Macelaru, who’s conducting the San Diego Symphony Friday. “But it also has the ability to define who we want to be. In the creative process that we all share during a concert — young and old, rich or poor — the music becomes the true equalizer and our own acceptance of this concept can be truly transformative.”
Macelaru, the music director and conductor of the Cabrillo Festival of Contemporary Music in Santa Cruz, is joining the San Diego orchestra in a Beyond the Score concert, which brings a composer’s work to life using a combination of music, performance and visual presentation. It’s a production of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra with creative direction by Gerard McBurney.
We asked the Philadelphia-based Macelaru to talk about his passion for classical music, a genre that first publicly hailed his talent in 2012 when he filled in for Pierre Boulez at the Chicago Symphony Orchestra.
Q: What can we expect from the Nov. 18 “Beyond the Score” performance, which will feature Dvořák’s Symphony No. 9 in E minor, Op. 95?
A: The concept of the Beyond the Score programs was born out of the desire for the orchestra to present an in-depth experience of setting a great musical piece in its context: historical/cultural/social. This is exactly what one can expect to see with this performance, a deeper understanding of Dvorak’s world, and the New World, which will allow one to broaden their appreciation of the art form.
Q: When conducting Dvořák, what is it you’re trying to get out of the orchestra?
A: The most refreshing performances for me are those that go back, in great detail, to what the composer wrote, trying to discover the meaning behind a great work of art. Although the meaning I speak of is only achieved when one understands the greatest details and nuances either implied or directly communicated by the composer. I try to achieve this in all of my performances, and hopefully it will translate in a convincing, honest, vivid performance of one of the most beloved musical masterpieces ever.
Q: Do you have a favorite composer — and if so, who and why?
A: I don’t favor one composer, or if I do, it changes from week to week. I am continuously fascinated by the way composers influenced each other and stole from each other. Perhaps it is this connection that allows me to love music as an art form without feeling the need to focus my attention on one particular compositional style.
Q: If there is one thing you want people to walk away with during your concerts in San Diego, what would that be? What do you want them to experience?
A: I hope the music will be a catalyst of transformation. It may be that one needs to find an inner peace, or meditation, while another is amazed in the virtuosity required to perform a symphony, yet both share an artistic communion of sorts that brings them together, even if for a brief moment. For me personally, the difference between art and entertainment is the meaning found within. I hope everyone in attendance will be able to discover the meaning behind the musical gestures we present and apply this to their own path, in an ever-changing, transformational process which is daily life.
“Beyond the Score”: Dvořák’s Symphony No. 9 in E minor, Op. 95: “Whose World?”
With: Cristian Macelaru, conductor
When: 8 p.m. Friday
Where: Copley Symphony Hall at Jacobs Music Center, 750 B St., downtown San Diego
Phone: (619) 235-0804
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