Master of Music

Classic Arts Features   Master of Music

The Dallas Symphony has a lot to celebrate: a triumphant European tour with glowing reviews, another successful summer residency at the Vail Valley Summer Music Festival, and good financial news at a time when other orchestras are struggling.

And the reasons to celebrate just keep coming. This season marks the 10th anniversary of Music Director and Conductor Andrew Litton, a leader who has, during his tenure, raised the orchestra's international profile. Just a few of his many accomplishments while at the helm include leading the orchestra on three major European tours, appearing three times at Carnegie Hall, and producing 19 recordings, which is one of the largest recent outputs of any American orchestra.

"The Dallas Symphony has some of the finest musicians in the world and I am very privileged to work with them and to perform in the incredible Meyerson Symphony Center," says Litton. "The people of Dallas have been so wonderfully supportive of our work and our music."

Here are a few of his thoughts about his time here. Some might surprise you (and a couple may make you laugh).

Playbill: What is the one professional accomplishment of which you are most proud since you started with the Dallas Symphony?

Andrew Litton: The Amazing Music television series on PBS‹getting young people's concerts on national television was a dream of mine and it was achieved early on in my tenure. I would love to see them happen again.

Playbill: What is the one personal accomplishment of which you are most proud since you started with the DSO?

Litton: My two children who were born in Dallas [Rachel, age 7 and Michael, age 4].

Playbill: You're celebrating another 10th anniversary this year.

Litton: My tenth wedding anniversary‹makes it twice as easy never to forget. Jayne and I, and the DSO and I, started our married lives together the same great year.

Playbill: Can you describe one or two really memorable moments during your tenure?

Litton: My 40th Birthday Bash at the Meyerson; the first appearance of the DSO at the Proms in Royal Albert Hall, London, during the 1997 European tour; the Mahler 7 performance at the Musikverein in Vienna during the 2003 European tour.

Playbill: Have you had any really embarrassing moments?

Litton: I wish I had stopped myself from reacting to some premature applause at an operatic aria concert by blurting out, "It ain't over until..." just as a very large soprano was about to come out on stage.

Playbill: What is the hardest thing about your job?

Litton: The difficult process of choosing artists and repertory that make for an exciting season. And balancing the need to fill the auditorium while also giving those of us onstage the chance to grow.

Playbill: If you weren't a conductor, what would be your fantasy job?

Litton: Race car driver.

Playbill: Do you have any rituals or special preparations prior to a performance?

Litton: I've worn the same cuff links for the 21 years of my conducting career.

Playbill: Any superstitions?

Litton: I tend not to get into concert attire until the last minute, literally five minutes to eight. As soon as I put on my concert clothes, I'm ready to go. I don't like waiting!

Litton's 10th season with the DSO will include several more highlights: leading the orchestra for the 2003 AT&T Gala, which features soprano Renée Fleming; presenting a thematically programmed season of classic Romantic masterpieces; and collaborating with guest artists such as Stephen Hough, Joshua Bell, and Lang Lang.

"We at the Dallas Symphony are very fortunate to have had Andrew Litton as our music director for the past 10 years," says Fred Bronstein, Dallas Symphony president. "Andrew has done a wonderful job of building and leading our orchestra, here and abroad. And his commitment to our community and music education is truly infectious. Happy anniversary, Andrew."

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