Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Maestro Laura Jackson, assistant conductor of the Atlanta Symphony, was interviewed by Alan Farley on KALW-FM, San Francisco, on September 14, 2008.

Laura Jackson started as a violinist and became a conductor.

She talked about the vulnerability of conducting, of being up there with nothing but a stick and needing to communicate so much.

She talked about a great, scary move in her life was when she decided to leave New England, and all the free-lance work contacts she had in the Boston are, and go to the University of Michigan to its good, hard-to-get-into conducting program.

She talked about learning to love music all over again as a conductor. As a first violinist, she sat in front and played gorgeous melodies. As a conductor, she learned to hear againt, from the bass up, in all details. She learned, for example, that the tipanist can transform and elevate an entire piece.

Farley asked what her favorite part of the repetoire is.

She said she is still learning the repetoire and so doesn't feel she knows enough to have a favorite part.

She likes pairing an old piece and a new piece so that they both sound different, so Beethoven Five, for example, becomes a new piece, too.

She likes working on new pieces when the audiences doesn't have expectations and where she can talk to the composer.

How often she's been working on a passage by, for example, Brahms, and wished she could dig him up and ask him what he was trying for.

With living composer, you can ask them, and she loves it.

--The interview was conducting in connection with her guest conducting the Berkeley Symphony on April 2, 2008, in Zellerbach Hall, Berkeley.