Bitter/sweet: My Farewell to Dennis

This is my 31st season in Basel and I still love my job and my profession.  I’ve seen colleagues and conductors  come and go, lived through marriages, divorces, births and deaths in our musical microcosm. But in all these years there has never been anyone like Dennis. Dennis has perfected the status of principle conductor through many years of practice. He’s developed the art of closeness and reserve, holding on and letting go, collegiality and authority, to perfection. He never, ever has said to us, „that was crap.“ Instead, it’s „you can do that better.“ Dennis lets us make our mistakes so we can correct them ourselves and learn from them. And, although he’s no longer our principle conductor, he holds an important place in my personal history and that of the orchestra.  What I love about Dennis is his way of perceiving his musicians as human beings and taking our personalities into account. His respectful attitude is never failing, his attention to us -off and on stage- is discreet and encompassing. When he was first introduced to us as our new conductor, Dennis said quite clearly that he wished us all, through good and less good times, the willingness to continue in dignity. I think we achieved this goal with him and have learned much from striving for it, both in and out of the orchestra.We’ve been to many countries and continents together and for me, the path we tread in common ends tonight with this tour. I will miss his wise guidance deeply, but I’ll always keep in mind those two sparkling eyes observing, questioning, reassuring. Thank you from my heart for these years filled with richness.

Tante Belle Cose

Tante belle cose can be a wish that you  give someone, or just a statement of fact.  Here in Reggio Emilia we are constantly seeing, hearing, and tasting many beautiful things. The theater, to begin with: a dream in red and gold, inviting the spirit to flights beyond everyday’s ordinary. It’s truly  extraordinary in its filigrane extravagance.  The audience, too, was a joy: the reception was warm and spontaneous. I have noticed that I’m becoming conditioned to life on the road. After the concert, my first reaction was to want to board the bus- in fact, yesterday was the first and only day of the tour when we didn’t have to drive anywhere. It was  a relief, since after two successive nights arriving at the next hotel at 2 a.m,  the exhaustion was beginning to fray the edges of our composure. There were short moments when the scales might have tipped, but sunshine, salume  and other belle cose helped restore the good mood.  In a few minutes we board the bus to Padua and the last concert of our tour. It’s slowly time to say goodbye, but it’s not over yet.