Jens and I would both be happy if the National Symphony Orchestra could actually hire James Conlon as a successor to Leonard Slatkin. Chris Pasles had a great article in the Los Angeles Times yesterday (Cottoning to Los Angeles, February 25) about Conlon's work thus far at Los Angeles Opera:
He wants to make Los Angeles [...] the launching pad for his "Recovered Voices" project — reviving music suppressed during the Third Reich. He's already shown himself a passionate advocate for such composers as Viktor Ullmann, Alexander Zemlinsky, Pavel Haas and Hans Krása in concerts in Europe and in guest conducting stints in the U.S. Among his extensive recordings are nine Zemlinsky works.Who knows if there is any chance for the NSO to hire James Conlon, but if there is, they should make it happen.
"No major opera company has produced any opera at all from this period," he said. "That's amazing. We're going to be the ones to do it. And we're not going to be able to do it in two or three years. This whole issue will outlive me."
He also wants to give performances that are as life-changing as the one he heard as an 11-year-old seeing his first opera.
"It was the moment I became completely conscious of classical music and how much I love it," he said. "It transformed my life to what it is today. Every time I go out on that podium, I think to myself, 'There are people out there — they could be 11 years old, they could be 5, they could be 80 — but you have the chance to change somebody's life for the better. They deserve 100% out of me, and they deserve 100% out of everybody on that stage, everybody in the orchestra.' That's the credo."