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Fort Worth Symphony Orchestra Plays Carnegie Hall

From left to right: Conductor Miguel Harth-Bedoya, Composer Osvaldo Golijov
From left to right: Conductor Miguel Harth-Bedoya, Composer Osvaldo Golijov

By Bill Zeeble, KERA reporter

Fort Worth, TX – Bill Zeeble KERA reporter: It's hard to know which is bigger; playing the storied, century old Carnegie Hall for the 1st time, or presenting a new work there. In their downtown rehearsal hall, the Fort Worth Symphony Orchestra's getting ready for both. They'll play Tchaikovsky's 5th Symphony and the Brahms Double Concerto, which they've played before and know intimately. They're also preparing a completely new work they commissioned from Argentine composer Osvaldo Golijov. The 47 year- old's had his works played in Carnegie Hall before. But a world premiere there is a first. And a very big deal for him and the Fort Worth symphony, as he explained recently on a drive to the airport.

Osvaldo Golijov, composer: People go there, on their death beds, they remember that particular night at Carnegie, when Bernstein conducted or you know, Ella Fitzgerald sang. It's like a temple. It's like a religious thing to go there and play and listen, you know.

Zeeble: Those at Carnegie Hall Saturday night will hear Golijov's cello and orchestra work inspired by the heartbreaking death of a close friend. She was a young mother who died in a sudden car accident. Golijov says he wanted to capture that moment before grief.

Golijov: I felt that instant, that is so recognizable, I can go back in my mind, I can have that moment and expand it into 12 minutes of music. I mean what music allows you to do is, is to compose the illusion that that particular instant lasts forever.
That instant is just one second of life, or 3 seconds of your life. But it's much more important than an entire year that is uneventful. Because it makes you realize the fragility of your life. So that's why I wanted to freeze it, through music.

Zeeble: The perfect cellist for the work might just be the soloist chosen, German-born Alban Gerhardt.

Alban Gerhardt, cellist: It's incredibly sad and haunting. Actually, it fits very well, because my mother is dying these days. Actually I said farewell to her yesterday and it could be the last time because I'm away 3 weeks in the states. She has ALS, Lou Gehrig's disease.

Zeeble: Composer Golijov considers Fort Worth's conductor and music director an ideal collaborator. That's because Miguel Harth-Bedoya has known and worked with the composer for decades, and says he admires his close friend's work.

Miguel Harth-Bedoya, Fort Worth conductor/music director: It's a piece that comes so close to the human soul, it should be so organic to breathing, to feeling. The hard part here is to make this intimate, to create an atmosphere in which music and sounds are on the borderline of stopping being that.

Zeeble: Harth-Bedoya's confident the entire program will move the Carnigie Hall audience, because the music's in his musicians' fingers and in their hearts. Bill Zeeble, KERA news.


Fort Worth Symphony' website


Carnegie Hall ticket info

Official website of Osvaldo Golijov

KERA Arts + Culture blog