Monday, December 15, 2008

Catching up with Gregory Vajda

Gregory Vajda, the resident conductor of the Oregon Symphony, will lead the orchestra this coming weekend in a special holiday concert with Chris Botti on Friday and Saturday evenings and a holiday music and dance spectacular on Sunday afternoon.

Vajda took a little time out in his busy schedule last week to chat over a cup of coffee about what he has been doing. I'll tell you, he has been keeping a hectic scheudle. On October 17 and 18, he conducted the Edmonton Symphony in a program of Russian music. From November 15 through the 23, he led four performances for Atlanta Opera of Rossini's "La Cenerentola" ("Cinderella") with Jennifer Larmore in the title role.

Over the last two weeks Vajda heard two premiers of his own music. His quintet, "Conversations with children" for flute, clarinet, violin, cello, and piano was performed in Brescia, Italy by the dèdalo ensemble. The performance came as part of winning a prize in a competition. Heck, Magnus Lindburg was on the jury.

The UMZE Chamber Ensemble performed Vajda's "The Vacuum" in Budapest, Hungary on a program that also featured music by Carter, Adams, and Kurtág. In addition, Vajda conducted that concert.

In January, Vajda will conduct concerts with the Oregon Symphony, the Fort Wayne Philharmonic, and with the Da Camera ensemble in Houston. He is still on the short list for the music director job with the The San Antonio Symphony, The Fort Wayne Philharmonic, the Fairfax Symphony (Virginia), and the Music in the Mountains Festival (Grass Valley, California). So, 2009 should be a break through year for Vajda.

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