August 1, 2011

Q & A with Arild Remmereit on the 2011-2012 Season

The Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra’s 2011-12 season promises to be a historic event and an exhilarating journey as Arild Remmereit takes to the stage for his inaugural season as RPO Music Director. For his first season with the RPO, Arild has selected an exciting mix of classic masterworks and new musical discoveries. We had a chance to speak with Arild about the upcoming concerts, his musical background, and more.

RPO: Congratulations on becoming our new Maestro! Throughout your programming you highlight the works of women composers, and we also will be joined by guest artists from the Eastman School of Music. Bravo! What inspired you?

ARILD: Thank you! I have a passion for discovering great works that move me and have, for different reasons, not yet become part of the standard repertoire; I believe the works spread throughout the 2011-12 season can do just that. I am eager to share this passion with audiences and musicians who I am confident will enjoy the experience as well. This is what I mean by “creating classics.” I also wanted to honor the significant role Rochester played in the women’s rights movement. And what better way to do that than through music! As for Eastman, it is simply one of the world’s great music schools with an incredibly rich tradition. The chance to forge new links with such an amazing institution—and to collaborate closely with its world-class students and faculty—was irresistible.

RPO: You’re also bringing us Mahler’s “Resurrection” for the first time in more than 25 years. How excited are you to re-introduce us?

ARILD: Yes! I am thrilled. I love Mahler’s music because it expresses such a wide range of emotions and ideas so powerfully. I have always felt a strong connection to his music. When I learned the RPO did not perform Mahler regularly, it seemed like an exciting opportunity for Rochester, and I hope audiences will become as enraptured by this magical music as I am.

RPO: How did conducting become your passion?

ARILD: I started piano lessons at age six and performed professionally as a boy soprano around Norway. My passion for music and my absolute commitment to being a musician really took off when I was allowed to buy myself a pair of those 1970s platform shoes and an electric guitar! I was 12 years old. After a few years I joined a band with some older kids, playing keyboards. What I had learned in piano lessons as a child then became very useful. My musical taste developed. I was playing more "jazzy" music, and as I was studying voice and piano at the Music Conservatory in Oslo, I was earning my living playing in bands. At some point in my early twenties, I started to feel like focusing my energies in one thing. So I asked myself: If I used all the experience I have gained in different musical settings so far in my life and invested all my energies and hard work into one enterprise, what would it be and what would I do well? Around that time I had a conversation with one of my uncles, Per Brevig. He is the only professional musician in the family and has a very successful career in the U.S. He was principal trombone at the Metropolitan Opera for 30 years and is a teacher at Juilliard and Aspen. He suggested that I check out the conducting program at the Aspen Music Festival and School. At the end of that summer, I concluded that if they (the conducting students) can do it, I can too! And from that point on, I focused on becoming a conductor.

RPO: Speaking of music and childhood, which pieces this season will resonate with younger audiences?

ARILD: That’s very easy to answer. Every single piece in this season is good for younger people and older people and everyone in between.

RPO: Tell us about your batons…your father makes them, right?

ARILD: My father makes all of my batons—hundreds of them—and it’s a wonderful thing. He’s now 82, and I’ve told him, when I’m 82 and still conducting, I don’t want to be in a situation where I run out of batons. He’s still making them!

To see and hear more from Arild Remmereit, the RPO's new Music Director, please visit us online at

1 comment:

balletomane3 said...

Thank you for the interesting interview.

I usually don't hear live orchestra performances unless there is an opera or ballet attached to it. However, this year I want to also try to attend orchestra performances without the additional theatrics. I will be attending some of these performances.