In early February, I interviewed Donato Cabrera, Resident Conductor at the SF Symphony and guest conductor for the February 28 SFCMP concert. In the interview, Cabrera discusses the differences between the American and European conducting traditions, the dangers of overspecialization, challenges facing the new music community in the United States, and how he thinks works by living composers should be programmed. You can read the interview on SFCMP’s blog.
Rating: 3.5 stars out of 5
George Benjamin was the San Francisco Symphony‘s composer-in-residence this month for this year’s installation of their Project San Francisco. Truthfully, I was not familiar with Benjamin’s work, but it came highly recommended by many of my colleagues, and so I looked forward to hearing it. I attended the SFS’s final concert with Benjamin on Saturday night (16 Jan 2010), where he conducted two of his pieces: Ringed by the Flat Horizon (1980), the piece that brought him to international attention, and a more recent piece, Duet (2008; see YouTube video below). In general, while I found Benjamin’s pieces highly competent works, I don’t think he lives up to the (perhaps unfairly) high standard people attribute to him. (more…)