Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Keeping up with Gregory Vajda

I had coffee the other day with Gregory Vajda, the resident conductor of the Oregon Symphony, and found out that he's a busy fellow. He'll be conducting the donor's appreciation concert this Friday and extra concert at George Fox University in Newberg.

On June 16th he'll conduct the Texas Festival Orchestra at the Round Top Festival in Round Top, Texas. The program will feature the US premier of Vajda's Duevoe as well as Franz Liszt's Les Preludes, Symphonic Poem and Bela Bartok’s Bluebeard's Castle with soprano Krisztina Szabo and baritone Istvan Kovacs. We heard Szabo sing a few Handel arias with the Oregon Symphony last year, and she was fabulous.

At the end of June, Vajda leads the Budapest Concert Orchestra MÁV at the National Museum in a concert consisting of Weber's Second Symphony, Haydn's Horn Concerto and the Schumann’s First Symphony. Then on July 11th he'll lead the Grant Park Music Festival's orchestra in a concert with gypsy violinist Roby Lakatos.

"Roby Lakatos is the most amazing violinist," added Vajda. "He is short and stocky with a mustache like Salvador Dali's. He’s a Hungarian gypsy. Joshua Bell loves to play with him. He can play for three hours straight and now break out in a sweat. He has a gypsy band that can go back and forth in styles: gypsy, jazz, Serbian folk music, classical – it’s just the easiest thing in the world for him. He makes it look likes it’s the easiest thing on earth. He plays to perfection. It’s just clean and clear and no mistakes and no limits."

Based on Vajda's comments, I had to take a look at a couple of video clips on Lakatos' web site, and he and his playing are just the way that Vajda described him, but even better. Check it out!

Vajda will conduct the Oregon Symphony in several concerts in Portland's parks in August, culminating with the Waterfront Concert at the end of the month.

Maybe he'll find time to compose another piece along the way.

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