Symphony from Israel to stop in Carmel on first U.S. tour
By Jay Harvey
Being in the middle of a 38-concert tour might seem like a heavy load for an orchestra conductor to undertake, but Boguslaw Dawidow is used to the rigors of touring and international travel for the sake of music.
In fact, the Haifa Symphony Orchestra that the Polish native will conduct in a concert at the Palladium Feb. 19 is just one of five orchestras he’s involved with on four continents.
In addition to being principal guest conductor of this orchestra from northern Israel, Dawidow (pronounced “DAH-vee-doff”) continues to direct the Chopin Chamber Orchestra he founded in Krakow, Poland, in the 1980s. He also holds the post of principal guest conductor with the Bogotá (Colómbia) Symphony Orchestra.
All that, plus regular work with orchestras in Palermo, Italy, and South Korea, makes for what could well be an exhausting schedule for a 60-year-old.
“I don’t feel it,” Dawidow said about his age, as he prepared to travel to Elmira, N.Y., last week.
His wife is accompanying him on this tour, as she does on most of his travels.
“If you love this, you don’t feel your age,” he said. “I was born to be on the stage and I feel born again whenever I go onstage.”
The main difficulty is adjusting to time-zone changes, he admitted in a telephone interview.
“But if music is your life, you do everything you have to do to get into the music,” he said.
His formative musical studies focused on conducting in his native Poland, but his career focus blossomed significantly in the early 1980s when he worked with and observed Leonard Bernstein in Vienna over seven to eight months. In the twilight of his career, Bernstein was giving concerts and making recordings with the Vienna Philharmonic.
“He just showed me that these big guys are normal guys,” Dawidow said. “You can talk with them. And you can see how they work. That was something that can be the best in a young conductor’s experience. “
As for Bernstein’s influence on him, Dawidow said, “He has proved to me the value of looking for the simplicity in music. In performing music, in dealing with all the people involved, you keep in mind that everything starts from the classics.”
Dawidow has emphasized known masterworks he loves in the programs he’s leading on the current tour. The Carmel audience will hear the overture to “Euryanthe” by Carl Maria von Weber; Ludwig van Beethoven’s Symphony No. 7 in A major; and with soloist Roman Rabinovich, Tchaikovsky’s Piano Concerto No. 1 in B-flat minor.
Audiences respond well to music they are likely to be familiar with, Dawidow said, and bringing programs consisting largely of well-known compositions allows them to assess the quality of an orchestra they are unlikely to know.
Israeli pianist Rabinovich will be the soloist in 20 of the Haifa orchestra’s U.S. concerts. At other stops he will play concertos by Beethoven and Rachmaninoff. The ensemble has another soloist on hand for the remainder of the concerts: violist Avshalom Sarid, who will be featured in a contemporary concerto by a fellow Israeli.
Formed in 1950, the Haifa Symphony Orchestra offers a varied musical palette to audiences at its home base in northern Israel. It has big-band and opera affiliates, a Jewish music series, extensive children’s concerts and an educational component, in addition to its classical season. This is its first American tour.
Haifa Symphony Orchestra ● 7:30 p.m. Feb. 19 ● The Palladium in Carmel ● Tickets start at $15. ● For more information call 843-3800 or visit www.thecenterfortheperformingarts.org.