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Avi with Mark Volpe

Oct 3, 2010|

Mark Volpe, Managing Director of the Boston Symphony Orchestra, discusses the upcoming BSO season.

Transcript - Not for consumer use. Robot overlords only. Will not be accurate.

But we begin the program. With something even more sophisticated mark Volpe is the managing director of the Boston Symphony Orchestra and that's not just the BS show. That also include tangle includes Tanglewood and pops. And I thought it might be pushing to talk to him about the organization. Your calls are welcome the phone numbers 8774694322. That say toll free number. You can text to us that 68680. Or the email address and duplicate emails this Kane Nelson at wrko.com. Mark good afternoon welcome to the program and this is an auspicious day because tonight is opening night of the Boston symphony right. I've been in the business should point seven years in order for an. Orchestra is no no no greater than the Boston symphony and I still get excited every every opening night -- which are like Fenway opening days. -- of the opening and an ability there's this certain point kind of the demarcation in terms. Big -- -- itself for sure this year than the BS so make the playoffs very. Well only if we -- -- we can articulate it well thirty minute. It says it could be -- mr. -- Now it is. I idea I -- -- to beat their but I wanna be there. Yeah I don't get paid to be there and I will be there nine -- -- enjoy the music. I'm curious about is that other sheets available -- is sold out. Was basically sold out but what really happened. Anybody. It from the house -- it did turn back go to Leo we keep the budget he for for artists and for others. And and so it I think we've probably put it in place. There are it would it would hold up -- -- -- over what went into it but putting it let it. We're we're having trouble with the connection marker you on the move. Okay all of a sudden it got a little bit stretching routines -- you of the clearing out he said that there are some seats available. And I said black tie there's a dinner afterward due to black the people come to not have to be in tuxedos or formal attire they just wanna go to lunch -- There's there's no dress code people should use a little bit of judgment and this kid opening night but but Madrid of course it's even when it's so. So wonderful about that because you keep people in and mayor. It is good for needy students then -- -- -- -- in a future and that added yet the world relive that and I think it's great. You know I won't make -- a point two people now not everybody likes -- the music I and of course we understand that. But there are certain things that advanced civilization and make a -- great. And among those things are not just good football teams in baseball team solo lord knows we root hard for them. But it is the sophisticated. Cultural organizations. That had something to. This city a subtle dimensions that even if you are not necessarily. -- -- -- -- -- of these people all of these organizations or they patron of the it's there's something that makes the community greater because of -- you know the Museum of Fine Arts. Then nothing in them the -- Boston Symphony Orchestra all the organizations like colleges in the area. Nothing ranks higher I don't think on the scale of contribution. To the cultural value and standards of the city. The the Boston Symphony Orchestra which is acknowledged to be among the very best. In the entire world -- man who get into rankings but it's consistently in the top five some people would say the very best. Well we -- where it said biased but I think that that that make -- gig external validation in New York Times in the London times and Asian papers I want one point I'll I'll make animated it's certainly in terms of the fabric of the community. Along with the other major institution -- -- reference. But one thing that people might not realize that when you go to Prague where you go to Harlem four or are you you go to Budapest -- addition there'll. Yes certain certainly. From the branding Boston. Yeah it's well known that we had these incredible academic institution that Harvard MIT to be used to be see though that. And turn to the cultural. You know I'm I'm saying culture in the broadest sense the sports teams and you you go to revision here and you'd they've bought itself thicker you'd think it. You know -- -- Boston you know I read that they don't know what you're talking about you you'd -- Boston symphony. And and you know any part of Europe for any part of of South America they they know what you're talking about is doing domestically speaking this fourteen. Are incredibly strong brand is helping define bought -- but that and actually speaking. That the Boston symphony. He served that role as an ambassadorship is certainly in many other registered education and all that element to suggest that it's just the bat to their. But that that that point that you know when we get in and occasionally appropriate moment they think neglected to consider the. If you're just joining us good afternoon I'm on Nelson we will get to politics and some of the other challenges in our society a little later but we've begun the program today. -- -- -- -- The managing director of the man -- administratively in charge of the Boston Symphony Orchestra and Tanglewood which is where the BS so goes during the summer it's in the the Berkshire's in the question part of Massachusetts. And the Boston Pops and I'm sure most people are familiar with. And the reason ish today is opening day air tonight is opening night of the Boston symphony season. And we're talking about the point that there is a contribution made to society if you don't like class community is here even if you're not. A graduate of Harvard or northeastern. You are benefit because of this sophisticated cultural. Presentations at these organizations get. -- of them may make another point earmark and that is symphony hall. That the actual physical building is considered one of the greatest halls of acoustic -- in the world is -- call. Is that when Lincoln Center which is where the New York Philharmonic plays in New York when Lincoln Center was being built a number of years ago. They send around for a number -- very sophisticated musicians and musicologist. To listen to the great halls and find out which had the best sound because they wanted to try to duplicate it. And my recollection is they came up with two. One was the symphony hall in Vienna and the other was the Boston symphony. Dawson City Hall here in Boston and they try to duplicated in and my recollection is that at first it was another failure for all the engineering that they got into it they who they weren't able to duplicate the sound. Let me now eight does it say they got it quite and they're talking about guiding -- -- I had been mr. Bloomberg got in New York is probably. Different different. That is. Demand that his hit their resources in terms. This city its mayor who can't let me mayor Mayor Bloomberg former -- you guys frankly I'm I'm -- Jamal you got it so just symphony cause problems. -- along with began as you know it. And maybe Amsterdam has been a great hall. And and it's however upon sorry because they've they've built this all. Long before they were able now to use lasers in the -- this this hyper sophisticated. Technology but it was actually. A -- -- that -- who would physics professor at Harvard and at Harvard they're having trouble. In the lecture halls there was too much reverberations and people on the back maybe didn't wanna hear what was going on but but I think -- -- thought they should know what's going -- There Harvard man many consider a blessing in some quarters. Are you you got it but but so ultimately if I figured it out if you formula it. In terms they're reverberation in terms of how low we've received I received its first. And he apply that and that can cause the first call in the end in the universe. Where that that was applied yet interested in being a tea. And take -- visit to his second it's kind of fun story symphony hall the entire focus. Is the organ without any based in all know what I'm talking but it's stage. This book Carnegie hall of few years before and it so it is quite the differences between New York. In Boston that you that the boxes. It said it priority he could go about looking across -- -- witnesses -- was wearing what mrs. Roosevelt was wearing what this is. You know -- is wearing it it's are all about it looking into society and and you know we we don't even have boxes. And that they hardest to balconies of course but it's a much more egalitarian. Paul then then virtually all other cause of that generation that was basically decided. That that music in net -- for the reason that the -- -- created music should be skirt for not just. The so called elite but that you should then there shouldn't be class distinction dealing with them at all. But that that would block level not -- that that ultimately give you -- all the mailboxes and and you create this this this entity called the Boston Pops. Which has a much broader repertoire. Frankly broader audience. We're talking -- mark Volpe the managing director of the Boston Symphony Orchestra and includes -- and tangle with. Just want to get back to when you said the organ for -- who -- the reference -- if you go to symphony hall you should face the stage you'll see these large pipes. They are org implies that they it is a facade is our call most -- actually don't work as soon as an organ. Well that they're concerned and -- and the dog has its heat under tight end and most of my located behind. That says. It's -- -- -- repaired about three years ago and and it is you don't pay attention to it but they took the -- thousand. There's you could put a small house and there's a big that chamber. Is -- but now it again pulled fight in the fight to be going tonight because of their most second has that -- organ part. The but by the way you know indoors -- refurbishment that went on its symphony hall extreme care was taken to preserve the acoustics is -- they're so good as you say the -- all the physics in the engineering in the formulas. Did not created New York. The same acoustical quality that you have been. In symphony hall and a siren call mark did they actually go and try to get the same kinds of nails. When they were appellation the floor gorgeous so that even the metal there wouldn't change the sound of hall nobody knows what makes it that's great. And so -- -- -- is afraid to implement any change at all. Well we've done some things while one after. A 110 years -- you know when you consider ever agree -- You know that that Tony Bennett that Frank Sinatra -- hi this is the -- and all right that they'd been over a 110 years we've we've had their. Replace that and and that we did that about two years ago and what we're estimating about Boston at the company its upcoming group that it it would work. In this world of consolidation that the little company Philip -- the little company. Very best but he and it and it would mailed them and all that made it came. And then a 108 years after the fact is they've -- did it get a little fun story the other thing we did. It is people forget back and they its cycle of wars the new policy on the tallest building. In Boston and during. You know that war there is. And are legitimate concern that there were you boats in the harbor. So the black out actually applied even though we're certain I don't have from the water. We had to take all the windows on top of the City Hall. And board them up and and we we decided about three year ago that that you put that left the harbor that we did reopen -- And and that if we finish at about 22 years ago. So those that it chew up projects. You know there are other things we do in terms of heating and air conditioning which we will it's due to board you've got but but but not a 110 -- building and and obviously the treasure -- we have invest in it every year. Mark -- the managing director of the Boston symphony. Like let's talk a little bit about the the music that is is played during the course of the symphony season. How -- those programs. Determined for those are unfamiliar it's a very eclectic program you get some of the classics you get. You'll Beethoven Brahms -- side -- minded etc. and you get also some very contemporary. Compositions. And names that the most of us have never even heard of and the musical courses very different powers the decision made. To put something on the program or paired with something else or something else that's not get put on the program. What starts out as a big puzzle and you you know you're gonna have. -- the course of this season 85 Egyptian Patrick it's much easier -- -- -- basically. 111 program and we sell out pushed China to. -- -- he's a very different they're they're probably 25 week each one with a different programming each program great we afford time. And we start with the conductors that we try to get conductors in the desert dirt track great conductors that they would -- -- but also on the season. We have -- reserve would be prepared -- -- -- so a lot of good stuff dot -- Was music director and little -- is simply an -- myself and all these guys and and you basically. Have a few teams every year it -- here's the big anniversary year for smaller is -- great big gargantuan allowed big grassy infinity it's up an anniversary year. For a few months we have all the issue mind. That city. It's an anniversary year freshmen are some important American. Composers. -- -- -- they would connection barber there's fewer Barbara's -- it's the little little. Less susceptible -- it is his music perfect never need to get some more sensible than some. And then part of our tradition and it start. Controversy occasionally. It is it's two to actually commissioned new works and the Boston symphony had a history. And you know and bad back going back 7080 years I've commissioning new work people like events he and bar talking Coldplay and then and many other. David people Soviet vehicle compared that they which said the center for the common man it is it the Boston symphony. Commission and so there are many famous pieces frankly some pizza that's exactly what -- -- that ended up in the NC. And mercifully never heard from the yen's -- I can't -- -- -- it -- -- -- -- -- voted -- it. There -- no other but who who who makes his decision more. Well there's a team of three people the -- let the final say in terms that would prefer that he does. Is it James -- The music director but you're just the commanders greater anybody -- and I. I always involved in that and they would get conductors -- might actually quite. Baghdad and it. And the instant you what you in the sense that they date they want to get connectors to be treated like guests though. If it's we want a great human connectors coming in curt Ritter says that wanna do too shall hunt them bases children anniversary year. Just -- great you know it mister Collins David. Some evidence that they wanna do some classical music and and Mozart Mozart and Haydn what they're that -- -- symphonies clinically English gentlemen. We we -- that let that's great so we we -- you know and that is that direct conflict with something that Levine wants to do. We tend to let it get you what they wanted to had to get one had success in Boston so they pick pieces that fit that you know given the best guess is that. Martin is there ever any human input from some say members of the audience are members of the the BSO community who are not on the stage or for that matter members of the orchestra did does do it do any other people get to. Voice and opinions suggestions like you more this or less and less than that did they come to you and if they do. If they were to suggest anything it'd just be. Doesn't know sort of shunted aside or listen to it. No I think the two entities. That that actually are involved. You know be up orchestra had packed media artistic advisory committee. And we sit with them you know I think -- evident by 89 times last year to talk about conductors and so Lewis and and and repertoire. That -- -- that it does have some say the audience. A little more indirectly to the marketing department and and and we we know. You know what the program and an -- -- to a program that it's it's pitcher players -- we also know we have a new new piece of commission. That it is is that copper covers sell only read it you know them the market got a preferred -- -- program of course which he she represents. He's the audience I I would say in terms of the audience involvement. Candidly the outside it is probably much much more receptive in the -- we're we're constantly. Serving the audience and I'm and they and we do that occasion is that they died. I think the the pop site where the audience you know keep silent about it we'll look at surveys then in what you know -- -- we have done a lot of Gershwin -- here we have been a lot of Rodgers and Hammerstein -- well look at that we that we see are you saying once you -- net well wolf we'll figure out a program that you would bet that. Eight. You Fiat Yorkers just a start ducking fruit from the audience you know not to play now and again. Yeah you can have about it we we don't tell lot of scrutiny and media -- that's half bath. Airport scanners for other things but in this symphony Davis's skin for fruits and vegetables we -- with. Mark Volpe managing director of the Boston Symphony Orchestra tonight is opening night at the they -- DSL. Dugout to remaining question mark one is I know the symphony is involved with a number of outreach and education programs involved with young people -- -- maybe. You talk a little bit about what they. But the BS showed does to reach out to the community. Well -- roughly. Read 24 million dollars a year. And -- a variety of education programs that we we have about probably twenty -- going in this schools basically function has gotten parent. Having a relationship that claim your -- talking about their lack experience they're they're people from the orchestra for many parts of the world. And then if you look at the Boston Public Schools in particular the the other -- well -- people from very different cultures. And that that -- he has some of those soldiers reflected in the complement the orchestra. We have some wonderful program. And and all -- where it comes to the on experience that but I have a big believer in active music making -- more and more we've been partnering. I would with fidelity and others just to get inserted into the schools and can get music teacher to get our guys working with the kids in a -- you don't play football or hockey. Give them a real discipline where they've taken has some sense of accomplishment and they learn. In which they've they've they've learned effectively and they -- problem solving we have actually one pilot school right now we're going to be having a -- announcement with. The it Edison's school at two decades to create a school where we're basically. Taking over -- school and and having it be at this school that he was cool but having this -- schools strictly him. Be based on -- -- strategic diet is a connection teaching math with the you know because riveted is basically that. Teaching history. He's -- group behavior group dynamic -- you know when you're playing in a band apart from your part of you know like the rest of life through your -- burn an ensemble. And then we have another wonderful program and -- Call -- your tank was just one of my computer programs are we take a few urban kids about 1520 every week and we do this greatly BK. We KG if you suburban kids from what you're doing and we take them rural kids from from very. Underserved parts of the state and we put them together. At Tanglewood for week in and then during the day they're all charged they're all adolescent well -- 1415 years old it's kind of very first moment in the morning they were producing it shows that it that'll be playing some reacting to will be doing their. Did it in area than in the afternoon. The -- that a large concentrations of local over to take -- -- a little bit about did that go over to William sound a little learn a little bit about acting with the actors says it's linked -- So go to a museum devoted that a voter Rockwell museum a political are. And then of course there at that and what would our our musician and that's why would you program that mean that you'll always try to change slight. For the better but that's what a few times where where people want. I think you can import export and that that that program is that companies get ticketed their particular. -- city made it more. The water are there but but never been in and in your world. The resistance. I had. You know at least you know two handfuls of people -- up to me -- that that changed -- life that -- their program that that frankly. Yeah that that want -- a bit irritated reinvest that examiners are about a year. In making that possible. For for the kids of course we have a great learning academy at ten Republican would be to senator. Where people like and it Bernstein is give our. And and Lauren might that would have been made a roll train the debt that basically pre professional that's at the different things about. Final question for those who don't. Like classical music or who are not familiar within that are thinking about maybe I give it a try and -- are uncertain. As to how they should go about it when they should go would you recommend. This -- the of somebody's thinking about going to symphony your -- be exposed to the classics. Why would go on it does that or I would look further pare back there they're at least half the programs in the course of the year. Are basically all very acceptable meet music yet you we have a program. You know while -- that these big if you -- be exactly it sounds. That you can't keep your movie's subject to a lot of movie -- -- frankly he. Apparently tried smaller and some of the big composes severely put its entry but if you if you want try to -- -- a little. -- let bombastic you know there's a there's a program in November that it's all Biden and in most effective there's a program. Right after that November that's all all -- which is very it's human with the composer wrote very much. In the style of what Beethoven and very very. You really romantic. And and so so. There's there's there's that if you wanna be a little bit more attention some there's -- big -- -- -- and it -- you know you get the full sonic splendor of the -- section the Boston it is -- that that incredible all. And then you know they're they're they're programs throughout if you like boxing let it something that -- -- here -- it's hot -- if if you. I've spent time in church you know there's all our program featured saint John's passion. There are playing and in April and then it was without security organs -- other. Components and and that means anybody who's been in a church where -- private most oppressive or Barak. You know that that fact is is basically the people prefer church music in the person the nomination. I I think I would I would go and do that and leave the other way would be the look at the it very specific -- the quality. Eight and but this spring pops they're all a lot of programs. That that have a little light classical music in the -- -- music careers there was some you know. The movie music at the end that I that I -- people just said to look at W. Immediate so that a worker Boston Pops out or in in and see what makes sense. Mark thank you good luck this evening good luck with the upcoming season congratulations on opening night and thanks for joining us this afternoon. Well mark -- the managing director. Of the Boston Symphony Orchestra on the occasion of opening night tonight that's symphony hall I guess there are some tickets available. For the dinner that follows his black tie and a little -- some more formality perhaps I know it's not the standard fare that we have. On this program but stepping aside maybe even above politics once in awhile isn't a bad idea. We are gonna get back to the stable of the program though on the other side of the break Vernon Harrison. Candidate for congress appears to be with me in studio we're gonna talk to him about his candidacy and the issues confronting him and us in this political season. I'm on Nelson your thoughts are welcome -- a M 680 WRKO.