Job description: as music director of the Missouri Symphony, I hire musicians, conduct all concerts and rehearsals and run the artistic programs of the Missouri Symphony.
Years lived in Columbia/mid-Missouri: 15
Original hometown: Bognor Regis, England
Education: GGSM, Guildhall School of Music, London; Fulbright exchange to NCSA in the United States
Professional background: I have been a conductor since age 11, when I gave my first concert in my hometown. I went to college as a pianist and cellist and continued cello studies in Paris and the U.S. I became assistant conductor to the Dallas Symphony in 1982 and then music director of the Knoxville Symphony from 1985 to 2003. I was music director of the Indianapolis Chamber Orchestra from 1988 to 2015 and music director of the Missouri Symphony from 2000 to present. I was also a professor of conducting at the University of Tennessee from 1990 to 2000 and at Ball State University from 2005 to 2006. I have taught conducting all around the world, with more than 700 students worldwide. I run the world’s largest conducting school in the Czech Republic every summer, and I teach this year in Denver; New York; Norway; Hong Kong; Prague; and Sao Paulo and Fortaleza, Brazil. I am the most-recorded conductor of the past 20 years with more than 110 CD recordings of music, movies and video game scores.
Why I’m passionate about my job: Because it is the only way to inspire and motivate people, whether performers, co-workers or audiences. If I don’t give 100 percent, nobody wants to hear what we have to offer because it will be uninspired, whether it is a musical performance, a radio interview or a rehearsal with my second- to seventh-grade conservatory kids. I want everybody to feel how I feel about music, not just “classical” music but all music. It has a relevance, and I want people to hear and feel its relevance.
Accomplishment I’m most proud of: Professionally, I’m most proud of all my students, cello or conducting around the world, who have achieved so many wonderful things. Personally, I’m proud of surviving!
A Columbia businessperson I admire and why: Teresa Maledy, president of Commerce Trust. She not only supports causes such as youth and the arts, but her commitment also shows by her presence at events and her obvious enjoyment of being able to participate in her company’s financial commitment to bettering the lives of the community. It makes the relationship with her sponsored entities, such as the Missouri Symphony Conservatory, a real and personal relationship, which helps the sponsored organizations feel special.
A favorite recent project: Working with children in the favelas of Sao Paulo and Fortaleza, Brazil. One of my conducting students runs a big music program for dis- advantaged youth in Brazil, and when I am there teaching, I like to work with his very special students in the ghettos (favelas).
If I weren’t doing this for a living, I would: Be a tennis player. I was an athlete all through my school days, and music always got in the way of being Wimbledon champion. If you mean realistically speak- ing, I would probably be playing the stock market or some form of a financial hedge fund manager. I love the way stocks move and their real relationship to the financial situation of a company. But I don’t know whether I would be a chartist or a speculator playing the daily moods of investors.
What I do for fun: Watch the Cavaliers on TV — every game!
Family: Wife, Maria; kids: Sylvia (Sisi), 9; Daniel (Danny), 7; Aiden, 2; and Chloe (by previous marriage), who’s 27 years old and a concert violin soloist
Favorite place in Columbia: Parks and playgrounds where I can sit and read and watch the kids at the same time: Tiger Bounce, McDonald’s Playland, the sprinklers at Flat Branch Park.
Most people don’t know that I: am very shy. I am not good at parties and uncomfortable with strangers. also, I am a sports nut. any sport! I will watch it, get avid about it and can probably name the champions in most sports at a push. I also collect British stamps from 1840 to 1901 and 19th- and 20th-century powder compacts.