A veritable dynamo
A conversation with Paavo Järvi,
and a review of his Miami concert in April,
by LAWRENCE BUDMEN
The Estonian born conductor Paavo Järvi is a veritable dynamo of the podium. Already well established as Music Director of the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra, Principal Conductor of the Bremen based Deutsche Kammerphilharmonie, and Artistic Advisor of the Estonian National Symphony, Järvi is about to become Principal Conductor of the Frankfurt Radio Symphony. Between concerts with these ensembles he keeps up an active schedule of guest engagements. A return appearance with the New World Symphony (after a stunning début in 2002) brought Järvi to Florida in April.
Järvi is a member of a distinguished musical dynasty. Conducting comes naturally to him. His father Neeme Järvi recently completed a decade as Music Director-Conductor of the Detroit Symphony Orchestra and a long tenure as Principal Conductor of Sweden's Gothenburg Symphony. (Järvi Senior is hardly resting on his laurels. Next season he becomes Music Director of both the New Jersey Symphony Orchestra and the Hague Residentie Orchestra.) Paavo's brother Kristjan Järvi is Founder of New York's Absolute Ensemble. His sister Maarika Järvi is a renowned solo flutist.
Neeme Järvi has been an inspiration for his gifted son. 'My father is an erudite musician,' Järvi told me. 'His sense of musical curiosity always ignited when he learned about new works and new composers. His enthusiasm is infectious. He really enjoys the process of music making.'
Leonard Bernstein was another icon for the conductor. (Paavo studied with Bernstein at a Los Angeles Young Musicians' Orchestral workshop in 1986.) 'This was a fantastic opportunity. Bernstein was a true giant. He had great charisma and a magical presence. You had the feeling that you were in the presence of someone exceptional. He was so direct on the podium. Bernstein did not emphasize the mechanics of conducting. For him it was all about music making and communication', Järvi recalled.
Paavo's principal conducting teacher at Philadelphia's Curtis Institute was Max Rudolf, long a stalwart at New York's Metropolitan Opera and former Music Director of the Cincinnati Symphony. 'Rudolf was an incredible person. Although he was frail he was absolutely brilliant. He had the ability to really illuminate a score. Rudolf had great charm and a wonderful sense of humor. He also had great fondness for Cincinnati. I still hear from my audiences there what a strong impact he had on the orchestra and on the city's musical life', Järvi said.
Copyright © 11 July 2005
Lawrence Budmen, Miami Beach, USA