<< -- 4 -- Tess Crebbin BATON MAGICIAN?
TC: You have conducted all over the world, and with many great orchestras. In 1997, you were chosen as conductor of the year here in Munich. What else do you want to do musically when so much seems to have been done already?
DS: Just like Viotti, who came here and took his orchestra to world class standard, I want to do the same for mine. I think we have come a long way toward this since I took them over but there is still much more to be achieved. We have grown into an A orchestra in the last few years. With every opening we now have for auditions, we try to attract some of the best players, not just from Germany but from all over Europe. Getting there has been a real labor of love. But it pays off because everyone in the orchestra feels the pride of being recognized. This is especially noticeable when we do concert performances because there are incredible orchestra showpieces, and very often the orchestra now comes out as the hero of the evening. It is a very new approach for my musicians and they really enjoy this.
TC: But despite all the great ambitions, you are tied to certain limitations. Of your instruments, for instance?
DS: True. The Gaertnerplatz cannot afford to buy the great Italian master instruments for its musicians, like the Staatsoper (Bavarian State opera) does, for instance. There just isn't the money. We are also dealing with the acoustic limitations of the house itself and we are going to address that in the future.
TC: Munich, Berlin, New York? You seem to have been everywhere. Is there anywhere left to go?
DS: There are always places left to go. Like many Americans, for instance, I love England: its history, its music and its artistic culture. Funnily enough, I have conducted nearly everywhere else, but never in England. I would love to start spending some time on English soil. So I could imagine going over there, as guest conductor for one of the orchestras, or even taking one of our great soloists along, like for instance the cellist Daniel Mueller-Schott.
Since Stahl's arrival in Munich, the standard of the Gaertnerplatz Orchestra has risen to a higher level, and its musicians take great pride in striving for excellence. Cellist Franz Lichtenstern has gone the extra mile by taking out a personal loan to buy a genuine Vuillaume cello. Photo © 2006 Philip Crebbin
TC: For the near future, you are about to fly off to the States?
DS: We are doing Mahler's 5th Symphony on 22 April. On the same programme we are doing Mozart's Piano Concerto No 20, which was the favorite concerto of my mother, who passed away nine months ago.
Copyright © 29 March 2006
Tess Crebbin, Germany