“…I’m excited about every concert I’m performing. Whatever I am conducting that day is my favourite.”

– CPO Music Director Roberto Minczuk

The CPO’s 2014/2015 Season is in full swing! We sat down with our Music Director Roberto Minczuk to hear his thoughts about the upcoming music the Orchestra will perform.

What are you most excited about for the new Season?

Preparing a different program every week is like giving a banquet and preparing all the dishes, and selecting all the ingredients, and always presenting something different to your guests. It’s always exciting to have this diversity of our programs.

So I’m excited about every concert I’m performing. Whatever I am conducting that day is my favourite. And I go for it with my mind, my soul, and with my whole self.

The opening of the Season we are performing Dvořák’s New World Symphony – one of the most known classical works. I really want to bring out the best in this piece; it’s a very exciting work.

We are also going to present one of the greatest talents that Calgary has ever had in its history, Jan Lisiecki, whom I have worked with so many times before. I’ve seen him grow up and become one of the most celebrated in the world now. It’s wonderful to have someone from Calgary who is a world class talent. What a great way to begin our season with a soloist like that.

Later in the Season, we continue our cycle of the Mahler Symphonies. We’re performing Mahler’s Sixth Symphony, one of the greatest works ever written, which has not been played here for more than 10 years. It’s very autobiographical. It’s about Mahler’s journey, and his struggle in life, and discovering himself as a composer, as a person. Discovering his faith as a Christian – he was born a Jew and then converted to Christianity. So it’s a very symbolic work, with overwhelming power and emotion. We are going to use a huge orchestra with nine French horns, five trumpets, and a huge percussion section. And there is a very iconic and symbolic hammer, which is going to be the biggest hammer that people have ever seen.

We heard you have wanted to bring Fantasia to the CPO for a while. Can you tell us more about this?

For decades I have been waiting to do Fantasia with film and live music, because this is one of the greatest films ever, and one that promotes music and orchestra in such a brilliant way. Only now are we able to have the rights to do this, and I want to present this to Calgary.

I think it’s going to do wonders for the CPO and our audience. A lot of patrons were small children when they watched that, and now they are going to be listening to that in an entirely different way. It’s going to be better than ever because no one has ever had the chance to hear a live orchestra performing with the film. So they are going to hear it in a better way than they ever did, and they are going to be able to hear it with their grandchildren. This is one of the highlights for me of family programming.

As a conductor, how do you prepare yourself for a performance?

It’s mostly a mental and spiritual preparation, because when we get ready to perform we have already done the rehearsals. The rehearsals are very specific and meticulous. We go for every single detail; we want to be very precise. We go for perfection, and this is such an excellent Orchestra that you can be very demanding with them. Great musicians and artists want to be challenged, and this Orchestra likes to be challenged.

So rehearsal time is really putting it together but doing it in the most perfect way, and also bringing the music to life – making it alive, bringing the beauty out of the music, the expression, the power, and then energy. And at the time of the performance, we want to communicate the message of the music.

As a conductor I want to give my best, and get the best out of the Orchestra. Delivering that message in a powerful, meaningful way is our job.