Last login: Thursday, October 18, 2012
The community might have a better idea of what Orchestra Nova was up to if Jung Ho Pak allowed music critics to review Orchestra Nova's concerts. Several years ago, there was an embargo on all reviews due to a mildly critical review in the Union-Tribune. I know, I was one of the critics (writing for sandiego.com at the time) who was told that Orchestra Nova would no longer provide press comps.
There isn't a major orchestra in the country where the conductor can fire players at will. Pak requested something that he knew very well the Nova musicians would not concede.
Every conductor has to work with the available musicians in the orchestra. A performance of a symphony rarely flows straight from a conductor's neurons through his or her arm and into the souls of the musician. Conducting an orchestra is a collaborative process, and even a conductor with the most demanding vision of a work has to accept that there are limitations between that ideal realization in their mind and what 50 to 100 musicians can jointly produce. With his resignation, Pak has clearly demonstrated that he is not interested in collaboration.
Here's a proposal, and it's not modest. It will take an investment of time and energy on the players involved, but it could produce a better chamber symphony for San Diego. Why not play without a conductor, like Orpheus or the Australian Chamber Orchestra? Programming decisions could be made by a player's committee, and the concertmaster could act as the leader of the ensemble. If anything, the musicians in the San Diego Chamber Orchestra and Orchestra Nova have been held back by their conductors. Music lovers always knew that the musicians were capable of better performances than Donald Barra or Jung Ho Pak ever produced. The board will save money on the conductor's salary. We've seen what other collectives such as Art of Elan can achieve. Why not let the musicians pick their own projects and perform without a conductor? Find a niche in San Diego programming that the San Diego Symphony and Mainly Mozart do not fill, and give San Diegans something they cannot otherwise obtain in the community. That, combined with well-rehearsed performances, will bring people to concerts more than any talks or video presentations--as Art of Elan has so ably demonstrated.
October 18, 2012 at 6:20 p.m.
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