Guest conductor promises action-packed program
YOUNGSTOWN — One of the works guest conductor Alberto Bade programmed for his debut leading the Youngstown Symphony Orchestra might be responsible for where he is today.
The Masterworks concert Sunday at Stambaugh Auditorium will include Antonin Dvorak’s Symphony No. 9, known as “From the New World.”
“I loved classical music since I first heard it,” Bade said. “When I was very young, I want to say 6 or 7, one of the earliest pieces that really caught my ear was the ‘New World’ symphony, because it had this cinematic quality to it. It felt like every moment, every theme, it could be set to a movie. It’s almost like a film score really.”
It will be joined on the program by Richard Strauss’ “Don Juan,” Samuel Coleridge Taylor’s “Danse Negre” and Joseph Haydn’s Trumpet Concerto in E Flat Major.
“It’s a high-energy, high-emotion program,” Bade said. “‘Don Juan’ is this explosive piece, known for its difficulty, but also every difficult passage is worth it because it’s so incredibly profound in its emotional content.
“We’re doing a new piece for me, which I was happy to receive the recommendation for. ‘Danse Negre’ is this really festive piece from his larger suite, the African Suite, and it’s so much fun. The librarian, Jay (Koziorynsky), from Youngstown, he said, ‘Hey, why don’t you listen to this? I think you’re going to like it.’ We needed one more piece, and I just loved it.
“Brian Neal is a good friend of mine from Dallas Brass and he’s a phenomenal trumpet player. He’s going to be playing the solo for Haydn’s really famous trumpet concerto, probably the most famous trumpet concerto. And we’re closing with the ‘New World’ symphony. That’s an action-packed program.”
Bade and Neal both teach at Miami Dade College, where Bade is director of orchestral studies. It’s the largest two-year college in the United States. While they’re on different campuses, they’ve collaborated many times in the past, and Bade said they will draw on that past experience working together for Sunday’s performance.
“That’s very, very helpful and the secret recipe for success,” he said. “When you know the artist, and you have a feel for their phrasing and how they interpret the music, you can already anticipate. And whenever you’re conducting a solo piece, the conductor is essentially interpreting to the orchestra what the soloist is trying to do. Having worked with Brian and understanding his general philosophy on how to approach music is incredibly helpful, and it’s going to work out well. I’m very sure of that.”
Bade doesn’t have that working relationship with the Youngstown Symphony, so the task requires learning everything he can about the music, trying to anticipate any potential challenge and adjusting as needed.
“Conducting is like the art of improvisation, because you never know what is going to happen,” he said. “You just have to be ready to move forward, especially when you haven’t conducted the orchestra before. You have to be ready for anything. For me, the most important thing is to have a picture of what the composer wanted, and that comes through study and a little bit of meditation on the music.”
Bade studied percussion growing up, and he believes all conductors should have experience as a musician first. And while he always was interested in classical musical, he studied jazz initially at the University of Miami because he was offered a scholarship.
That experience continues to benefit his work in the classical field.
“Jazz marks you in a way that is very beneficial,” Bade said. “Jazz musicians will say jazz is the apex of music education because it’s all there. Jazz came much later (than the classical repertoire). So jazz is this combination of all these great composers, and all at once it just comes at you, as opposed to this progression we have in conservatories with the study of classical music.
“Having it all at once and having to digest it, later, when you take a few steps back and then see what’s possible with this through the study of classical music, it’s really, really beneficial. It marks you. I think musicians should always give jazz a chance if you’re a classical musician and vice versa. There’s so much to learn from both worlds. We can learn so much from each other. You really become a complete musician when you have both sides of the coin.”
If you go …
WHAT: Youngstown Symphony Orchestra with Alberto Bade, guest conductor, and Brian Neal, trumpet
WHEN: 2:30 p.m. Sunday
WHERE: Stambaugh Auditorium, 1000 Fifth Ave., Youngstown
HOW MUCH: Tickets range from $22 to $52 and are available online at experienceyourarts.org and 330-259-0555.