Chris Fenwick. Chris was the Music Director of the Tony award winning production of FUN HOME, and is currently on staff at City Center as the Music Director of Encores! Off-Center. He sat down with us in the studio after his hugely successful run of SUNDAY IN THE PARK WITH GEORGE, that starred Jake Gyllenhaal and an all-star cast. Listen in to find out how he chooses to learn rather than panic in stressful situations, and why he has achieved so much so early in his career.
Jason Tramm. Jason is a passionate conductor and promoter of music with more than a few titles attached to his name. He tells Kevin and Carol how he keeps himself busy with his passion as well as remaining a dedicated father.
Ronnie Oliver, Choral Conductor talked with us about his path to his career. Thinking he would pursue architecture in college he soon realized his love of music would be his path. Graduating college as a music education and voice major he continued his education with Dr. Ken Davis at Texas Tech University for his masters and doctorate degrees. We talked about teaching undergraduate and graduate conducting, the differences between working with professional and amateur choirs, what he listens for in auditions, importance of people skills and organizational skills, rehearsal techniques, vocal production, vocal accompanist and how to prepare a choir to perform with an orchestra
Violinist, Daniel Andai talked with us about his pathway to his current career as concertmaster for the Miami Symphony, Dean of Music at the New World School of the Arts and Artistic Director of the Killington Music Festival. Following his instincts to follow opportunities that came his way he has created a multifaceted career. We talked about his; mentors, finding his way to conducting, his thesis “A Contemporary Approach to Orchestral Bowings for the Concertmaster”, his work with chamber music at the Killington Music Festival, collaborative approaches and how to teach them, learning conducting and how it has taught him so much about the collaborative process of the orchestra, management skills he uses in both conducting and administrative roles, the importance of the audition process, difficulty of musical training today and how the New World School is helping musicians, how he finds a balance in life between his various pursuits and the skills he improved to be efficient.
Trombonist and Conductor Dr. Per Brevig, joined us in the studio to talk about how his career evolved over time and how it lead him to conducting. He talks about how everything in his career has been progressive. We talk about; the diversity of his career, his interest in Jazz, Big Band and Contemporary Music, the importance of playing a broad choice repertoire, the shift in his career to conducting, his promotion of avant-garde music, how to be a good colleague, his conducting schedule and positions, programming choices, finding pleasure in various repertoire as a listener, what a soloist can expect when meeting with a conductor, his involvement as founder in the Grieg Society, and about his close work with the various composers including Carlos Chávez for the premier of the trombone concerto.
Violist and Assistant Conductor for Les Misérables, Will Curry entered college as a violist but knew he wanted to be a conductor. While at Northwestern he began studying conducting along with viola and began making Broadway connections, which later lead to him being recommended for the tour of Les Misérables. Putting his masters degree on hold, he toured for three years as violist and assistant conductor and for the past year he has been on Broadway and developing a career in NYC. Using his skills from an arts administration minor, Will is the Development Director as well as a performer for the Broadway Chamber Players. We talked with Will about; how he plans ahead and continues to improve his skills as a musician to insure job security in the future, practicing to keep “in shape” with other music and the fundamentals, surprises that still occur after playing the same music for four years, choosing the viola, transitioning from college to touring, tour life, substituting on Broadway and doubling on violin and viola.
Ben Cohn music director and first keyboardist at “Wicked”, talks about starting out as a substitute musician and ten plus years later having a permanent job. He discusses; the difference between the conductor positions, incorporating new cast members and orchestra members into the ensemble (without full rehearsal) and learning the technical side to the equipment. As a graduate of Ithaca College and NYU, he comments on how the skills he learned from his training support his current work and the professional connections that foster his current success. Ben shares how other creative projects afford him the opportunity to stay fresh within having the full time job and continue to grow as a musician. We discuss various topics such as; the social dynamic of a Broadway pit and how the working atmosphere is integral to a happy pit, the collaboration of the touring group, managing family life and full time jobs, how classical piano training provided a firm technical foundation, the necessity of sight reading for his job and the importance of how audition singers prepare and communicate with the pianist.
Wendy Cavett, Music Director for “Mamma Mia”, shares her secret to keeping each performance fresh. Her path to Broadway was built on her abilities as a singer, dancer, performer, and pianist. She talks about the different roles of contractors, music directors and the structure of administration between small vs. large productions. Explaining how a show starts from development to production she shares her role as an arranger and how she keeps her own career moving forward by challenging her own skills and technique with new projects.