I'm working on the Five Questions column for Saturday and discovering again, it's tough to whittle it down to five Q & As, especially when the goal is to be funny, not just interesting. So here are a few interesting leftovers.
The pic above is of Jere with the Minneapolis Pops Orchestra.
What's the piece you most want to conduct that you never will?
There are two of them -- "Der Meistersinger von Nurnberg" by Wagner and "Der Rosenkavalier" by Richard Strauss. I've conducted only about a dozen operas, and of my five favorites I've done two -- Mozart's "The Magic Flute" and "The Marriage of Figaro." I might have a chance to do a concert version of Beethoven's "Fidelio" before I hang it up, but the others, because of their scale, I probably won't.
When you listen to recordings of your concerts, does it drive you crazy hearing the things you'd do over?
I don't agonize over the imperfections anymore. After all these years, now I think, hey, we did OK. We can do better next time, but I don't kick myself nearly as much.
If you could wave your baton and fix the chaos at the Minnesota Orchestra, how would you do it?
I would take management out of the equation and have the players sit down with board members. If management had done what they should have done in 2008, there's no reason why it would have come to such a drastic cut in compensation and changes in work rules. They need to have the players get together with the board...also the audience, city and state officials, leaders of the other major arts institutions, and talk it out and work it out as a collaboration.
Desert isle question: what would you have on your iPod until the battery dies?
My favorite composer is Brahms. I'm not saying he's the greatest composer, but he's the one who tears my heart out. So I would have the symphonies and concertos of Brahms. I'd also have some Mozart, Beethoven, Bach...that's terribly cliched but they're the ones I revel in and would want there. For a little fun on the side, I'd probably go with a little bit of Stravinsky and Copland.
Deep down, do you really like it when people call you "maestro"? I mean really like it.
No, I don't care at all about that. When they call me maestro, I say, "Thank you for calling me by my first name." I love being up front not because of the attention or the power but because I love the process of making that music on the page come alive as the music that enters the ear. There's no time to luxuriate in the experience.
What performance would you most like to forget?
There was a situation with a band that I was asked to come in with at the last minute. Although I got them through it, it was impossible to save the performance. That was 20 years ago. I don't appreciate being reminded of it.