Seven Questions with TSO Conductor Steven Reineke

May 19
2:13 AM 2014

Seven Questions with TSO Conductor Steven Reineke

On May 20th and 21st, Pops Maestro Steven Reineke and company will pay homage to a legendary Broadway duo: Alan Jay Lerner & Frederick Loewe. You'll enjoy all the most memorable songs from such classic musicals as My Fair Lady, Camelot, Gigi, and Brigadoon, sung with verve by a top-notch cast of singers.

I had a chance to sit down and chat with Reineke about his favourite Lerner, the upcoming conert, and future Broadway themed events at the Toronto Symphony.

1. How is it different conducting the Broadway "standards" versus music which is more classical?

It's the same basic set of skills as a conductor to be able to conduct Broadway and Great American Songbook standards as it is to conduct classical repertoire. One of the big differences however is conveying the many different styles of music incorporated into Broadway songs, from swing and jazz to pop and rock idioms utilized by todays Broadway composers. The Music of Lerner and Loewe is much closer to classical operetta so there is not a lot of difference.

2. Lerner and Loewe wrote some of the best known Broadway songs of all time. Is it intimidating at all to approach these works?

It's certainly not intimidating to conduct the music of Lerner and Loewe. As a matter of fact, quite the contrary. It's such a joy and pleasure to perform these great songs by true Broadway songwriting masters.

3. What is your favourite Lerner and Loewe song?

This is a tough question because they wrote so many wonderful songs. I would say that I'm very partial to the music from "Gigi". It's such a beautiful score with a big MGM Hollywood Musical sound. I love the Main Title, "Gigi", as well as "Say a Prayer For Me Tonight". It has a fantastic lyric.

4. Of all of their shows, which is your favourite?

I would have to say "My Fair Lady". The story and songs are so fantastic. It's often been referred to as "the perfect musical" and I couldn't agree more.

5. Broadway scores rarely get full orchestral arrangements anymore due to budget concerns for musicians. Do audiences ever react differently hearing this genre of music played the way it was originally intended?

It is always an incredible experience to bring these broadway scores to life with a full orchestra of over 70 musicians! That certainly doesn't happen on Broadway anymore. It's great to hear this music in all of it's glory with a true symphony orchestra. The audiences are usually blown away by the sound of it all. Imagine what the singers feel when they hear this music played by a full orchestra too. They are in heaven.

6. What is your favourite part of conducting music by Lerner and Loewe?

My favorite part is probably that their music just makes me smile. I'm sure I'll be grinning from ear to ear throughout all of our concerts.

7. Can audiences expect to hear more Broadway music in the Pops concert line up?

Of course! Next season we will pay tribute to broadway composer Stephen Schwartz in a program called "The Wizard and I: the Musical Journey of Stephen Schwartz". Stephen, of course, is the composer of "Wicked", "Godspell", and "Pippin" to name a few. He also was the lyricist for several Disney animated films including "Pocahontas", "The Hunchback of Notre Dame" and "The Prince of Egypt". The TSO will be joined by a chorus and 4 incredible Broadway singers.

Where and When?

Tue. May 20, 2014 at 8:00 PM
Wed. May 21, 2014 at 2:00 PM
Wed. May 21, 2014 at 8:00 PM
at Roy Thomson Hall

Tickets available online here.

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