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An Interview with Conductor John Nelson (Feb. 9, 1980)

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Item Type: Sound Recording Duration: 24 min
Event Type: Interview Program Origin: KPFA

Recorded in February of 1980, Charles Amirkhanian interviews Indianapolis Symphony conductor, John Nelson. The discussion begins with Nelson relating how he got his conducting career off to a fortuitous start when he was suddenly required to fill in for an ailing Rafael Kubelik, and with one day’s notice and no rehearsal, successfully presented Berlioz’s “Les Troyens” at the Metropolitan Opera. Nelson thinks that American conductor’s are coming into their own, although he does admit that when it comes to the traditional repertoire the European’s still have an edge. He believes that while Juilliard did a fine job teaching him to be technically proficient he had not been fully exposed to the importance of cultural context and in-depth analysis when preparing a piece for performance until he studied with such maestros as Julius Herford. Nelson also describes some of his recent recording projects, including some that entailed his first use of digital formats. As for his then upcoming stint as guest conductor at the Cabrillo Music Festival, Nelson admits to be greatly excited to be presenting music by Antonín Dvořák and Henry Cowell. The interview continues with Nelson describing his work with the Indianapolis Symphony, which was then celebrating its 50th anniversary and had a great tradition, but was in a state of decline when he took over as conductor in the late 1970s, and from which it has since recovered. Nelson concludes this interview with his thoughts on the future of orchestral music in America, which he insists is not on the edge of becoming obsolete, but does need to expand both its repertoire and become more flexible with its instrumentation and size.

Genres:  20th Century Classical; Orchestral Music
Subject:  Cabrillo Music Festival; Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra; 20th century classical; Orchestral music; Conductors (Music)
People:  Amirkhanian, Charles; Nelson, John, 1941-
Recording Date:  2/9/1980
 
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