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CMS: Conducting with Constantine
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What is it like to make a living directing symphonies?


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49:21 minutes (23.69 MB)
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A live orchestra, playing great music with spark and cohesion and commitment, is such a mind-blowing thing that you understand, sitting the darkness, why people give over their lives to the whole concept, even in the teeth of a doddering economic model  and an audience shrinking faster than it can be replenished.

While I was working with the Hartford Symphony last year, I would stand backstage with piano soloist Gary Chapman, who was getting ready for "Rhapsody in the Blue" in the second act. Gary tended to leave his dressing room and pace in the black wings, just feet away from the HSO which was playing An American in Paris. One night, as a giant chord erupted in the air, Gary threw his arms upward, in gratitude and exultation. And I understood. By then, my ears were tuned to hear the heavenly pay-off.
How do you get a generation of reluctant people to go there and hear that? We'll talk about that today.

Constantine Kitsopoulos is the first in a series of seven conductors to try out for the Hartford Symphony Orchestra.

And on Let Us Correct You: Do microwaves really cook food from the inside out?

You can join the conversation. Leave a comment below or e-mail colin@wnpr.org.

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Listener E-mail from Patrice

I love the monologue you did at the beginning of today's show.  I haven't heard all your shows -- have you been doing this regularly?  It was great today.

I definitely think you could do a DMV show, and I think you will be surprised at the listeners who will call and say good things.  I have a story to tell about changing a title -- the lady in the DMV was nice enough, but the folks behind the scenes got everything wrong and sent me back two wacky letters, so I put off dealing with it.  Then I *had* to deal with it, and called the DMV on the phone, GOT a person, and she was incredibly helpful and nice and made the problem disappear magically!

I was amazed.

I think people just think they're nasty.  It's slow... But that's not their fault.

On Music ...

Obvious but true, we need to get the kids into music in schools.  The more you are "in" the music, the more you're moved.  I've sung in lots of choruses, and I can tell you that singing in the middle of the chord with 80 people vibrating beside you is way more fun even than sitting in the audience.

And when I started to play bad violin in my 40's, and played with a tiny orchestra, it was such a kick!  I had never been part of the orchestra.

Finally, as to good and bad music -- I sing everything from pop to jazz to Broadway to opera, and there is only one kind of music.  In places like Hartt there is a big chasm between the kids learning classical voice and Broadway voice -- both thinking theyr'e the real thing.  There's no need for that!  We need to welcome all types of music, and bring in the folks that enjoy all those different styles.