September 3, 2009

Q&A with Jeff Tyzik on the 2009-2010 Season

This week, we talked with RPO Principal Pops Conductor Jeff Tyzik about some highlights of the coming season and new projects he's working on.

The Pops Series opening weekend features the music of Motown. Have you worked with Spectrum and Radiance before, and what can people expect to hear at this concert?

I have worked with Spectrum both here in Rochester and also in other cities. In my opinion, they sing the classic Motown "hits" better than the original performers. It will be my first time with Radiance and I'm looking forward to the great music made famous by the "girl" groups.

The "Opera in Love" concert in November includes your daughter Jami, who sang selections from Bizet's Carmen and Gershwin's Porgy and Bess at last fall's Pops opener. Did this new concert grow out of that experience?

I was talking to Jami a year ago about wanting to do an "Opera" pops program and we decided to work together. She has put together some great new vocal talent and worked with a director to semi-stage the evening. We both want people to have a fun evening as they get to know this wonderful music in a casual setting. Also, I love being on stage with Jami.

And tell us more about Dave Bennett, who will be joining the RPO for the Benny Goodman and Artie Shaw tribute concert.

Peter Appleyard – the phenomenal 80-year-old vibes player who played with us last year – told me about Dave Bennett and since Peter worked with Benny Goodman, I figured he knew what he was talking about. I checked him out and found that he is a gifted jazz clarinetist with a strong musical resemblance to Benny Goodman.

You're writing a new Timpani Concerto for Charles Ross to perform on the Philharmonics Series. How did that come about?

Charles asked me if I would be interested in writing a concerto for him. I have started writing more creatively for the timpani since he joined the RPO and I was honored that he asked me. I'm putting the finishing touches on it as we speak.

What music is in your CD or MP3 player right now?

I'm writing so much music and concentrating on my timpani concerto that I'm not listening to anything right now.

What's your cell phone ring-tone?

Musical ring-tones drive me crazy ... I tend to keep the tunes in my head; so I'm afraid I have a standard old-fashioned ringer sound.

Where are your travels taking you during the summer break?

I'm having a short "Staycation" at home this year before my guest conducting schedule heats up in September. I'm enjoying being home with Jill and our dog "Puccini," a Coton de Tulear.

No comments: