Transcript: Molto Vivace, with the Maestro | Jun 19, 2018

Steve sits in the studio. He's slim, clean-shaven, in his fifties, with short curly brown hair. He's wearing a gray suit, blue shirt, and spotted blue tie.

A caption on screen reads "Molto vivace, with the Maestro."

Steve says HE HAS BEEN AT THE
HELM OF THE TORONTO SYMPHONY
ORCHESTRA FOR LONG ENOUGH NOW -
14 YEARS - THAT THE TROUBLE IT
WAS IN WHEN HE TOOK OVER SEEMS
LIKE JUST A DISTANT MEMORY.
BUT AS PETER OUNDJIAN PREPARES
TO LEAVE HIS POST, AMID A
MONTH-LONG TRIBUTE BY THE TSO
AND HIS MANY FANS, THERE'S
LITTLE DOUBT THAT HIS INNOVATIVE
PROGRAMMING AND AUDIENCE
OUTREACH WERE KEY TO REVIVING
THAT VENERABLE CULTURAL
INSTITUTION, BOTH AT HOME AND
ABROAD.
JOINING US NOW FOR SOME PARTING
REFLECTIONS:
PETER OUNDJIAN, MUSIC DIRECTOR
AT THE TORONTO SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA...

Peter is in his early fifties, clean-shaven, with short white hair. He's wearing a black suit and a pink shirt.

Steve continues SO GOOD TO HAVE YOU
BACK IN THAT CHAIR.

Peter says THANK YOU
VERY MUCH, STEVE.

Steve says JUST BEFORE WE CHAT,
LET'S SHOW THE FOLKS WHAT YOU
DO, OKAY? SHALL WE?

Peter says ABSOLUTELY.

Steve says SHELDON, ROLL THE
CLIP, PLEASE.

A clip plays of an orchestra performing.

(Stirring symphonic music)

Wearing a black shirt and waving a small black baton, Peter conducts the orchestra.

The clip ends.

Steve says THAT'S LOVELY.
YOU LOVE HIM, DON'T YOU?

Peter says I DO.

The caption changes to "The way he was."

Steve says I HAPPEN TO HAVE
HERE IN MY HOT LITTLE HANDS...

He shows a CD case with a beige and yellow cover that reads "Vaughan Williams."

Peter says THE BRAND NEW ALBUM RELEASED.

Steve says WHY IS HE YOUR FAVES?

The caption changes to "Peter Oundjian. Toronto Symphony Orchestra."

Peter says HIS MUSIC IS EXQUISITELY
BEAUTIFUL.
IT TAKES ME BACK TO MY DAYS IN
ENGLAND.
THE MOST IMPORTANT REASON IS WE
WENT TO THE SAME SCHOOL.

Steve says I DID NOT KNOW THAT.

Peter says WE DID NOT GO AT THE SAME TIME.

Steve says I WOULD THINK NOT.

Peter says HE WAS BORN IN 1872.
THAT WAS THE YEAR MY SCHOOL,
WHICH IS CALLED CHARTER HOUSE,
MOVED FROM LONDON TO SURREY.
IN 1972, WHEN I WAS IN HIGH
SCHOOL, WE HAD A HUGE
CELEBRATION, BOTH OF THE
ANNIVERSARY OF THE SCHOOL AND OF
VAUGHAN WILLIAMS' 100TH.
WE PLAYED VAUGHAN WILLIAMS TILL
THE COWS CAME HOME.

Steve says THAT IS AN
INTERESTING HISTORICAL FOOTNOTE
AND THE FACT YOU DO SHARE
ENGLAND, BUT THERE'S MORE TO IT
THAN WHY HE SPEAKS TO YOU?

Peter says THERE'S A PROFUNDITY IN HIS
MUSIC AND A DEPTH AND AN
EXCITEMENT AND A BEAUTY AND A
REVERENCE AND NOBILITY. THIS
MUSIC HAS EVERYTHING. HE'S
REALLY ONE OF THE GREATEST
COMPOSERS OF ALL TIME.

Steve says THERE IS ANOTHER
ENGLISHMAN THAT I THINK YOU ALSO
HAVE A LITTLE SOMETHING IN
COMMON WITH.
HE MAY BE YOUR COUSIN. DO YOU
KNOW WHO I'M TALKING ABOUT?

Peter says I THINK YOU MIGHT BE TALKING
ABOUT ERIC IDLE, MONTY PYTHON.

Steve says EVERYTHING YOU SAID
ABOUT VAUGHAN WILLIAMS ARE NOT
APPROPRIATE TO SAY ABOUT ERIC
IDLE.

Peter says A VERY GOOD MUSICIAN AND
LOVES BEAUTIFUL MUSIC.

Steve says WHEN DID YOU FIRST
REALIZE YOU HAD A VERY FAMOUS COUSIN?

Peter says THAT COULD BE AN EXTREMELY
LONG ANSWER.
TO BE PERFECTLY HONEST, I HAD NO
IDEA HE EXISTED UNTIL I WAS 11.
THAT'S A LONG STORY AND IT HAS
TO DO WITH MY MOTHER AND HIS
MOTHER BOTH BEING ORPHANED AT
VERY YOUNG AGES AND GOING OFF IN
DIFFERENT DIRECTIONS AND WE ONLY
DISCOVERED THAT WE HAD SEVERAL
OTHER COUSINS WHEN I WAS 11...
I'M THE YOUNGEST OF 5 FIVE.
AND I THINK PART OF THE REASON
WAS ERIC HAD EMERGED AS A
CREATIVE ARTIST AND A COMEDIAN.
HE WAS DOING SOMETHING CALLED
"DO NOT ADJUST YOUR SET" WITH A
BUNCH OF MONTY PYTHONS GUYS,
WHICH BELIEVE IT OR NOT WAS A
CHILDREN'S SHOW.
MY MOTHER THOUGHT, I'M GOING TO
HAVE TO TELL HIM WHO HE'S
WATCHING ON TV.
THAT'S HOW IT HAPPENED.
WE DID NOT ACTUALLY GET REALLY
CLOSE BECAUSE WE DIDN'T HAVE
MUCH OF AN OPPORTUNITY TO UNTIL
PROBABLY ABOUT TEN OR TWELVE
YEARS AGO WHEN ERIC KEPT SAYING
TO ME, WE'VE GOT TO DO SOMETHING
ON STAGE.
AND FINALLY AS A RESULT OF ALL
THOSE CONVERSATIONS HE WROTE NOT
THE MESSIAH, WHICH WE PREMIERED
HERE IN TORONTO PROBABLY ABOUT
TEN YEARS AGO.

Steve says NICE.
I WANT TO TAKE YOU BACK FURTHER
TO CHILDHOOD TIME FOR A MOMENT
HERE AND TALK ABOUT... DO YOU
RECALL WHEN YOU FIRST ACTUALLY
REMEMBER THINKING: THAT'S MUSIC.
IT'S BEAUTIFUL.
AND IT SPEAKS TO ME IN A
PROFOUND WAY?

Peter says PROBABLY TOO YOUNG TO REALLY
REMEMBER BECAUSE I WAS ONE OF
THOSE VERY LUCKY PEOPLE WHO
SEEMED TO BE MORE RARE NOWADAYS,
UNFORTUNATE TO SAY, BUT
CLASSICAL MUSIC WAS AROUND ME
ALL THE TIME.
OUR FATHER LOVED MUSIC.
HE PLAYED MUSIC ALL DAY LONG.
HE ALSO PLAYED THE PIANO AND WE
HAD TWO PIANOS IN OUR LIVING
ROOM.
THEN MY SISTER STARTED PLAYING
THE PIANO.
SO I CANNOT REALLY REMEMBER THE
DAY I FELL IN LOVE WITH THE IDEA
OF MUSIC.
I WAS PROBABLY FOUND SILENCE
MORE FORBIDDING THAN THE IDEA OF
HEARING CLASSICAL MUSIC.
TO START PLAYING PIANO WHEN I
WAS SIX WAS A NATURAL THING AND
I REALIZED VIOLIN WAS MY
INSTRUMENT.

Steve says THAT'S MY QUESTION.
WITH THE TWO PIANOS THERE, THAT
MADE SENSE.
HOW DID YOU GET THERE FROM TO
THE VIOLIN?

The caption changes to "From the violin to the podium."

Peter says I HAD A CLOSE FAMILY FRIEND
WHO WAS A GREAT VIOLINIST.
HE HAD BEEN CONCERT MASTER OF
THE PHILHARMONIC ORCHESTRA.
HE WOULD STAY WITH US AT TIMES.
WHEN I WAS SMALL THEY'D SAY,
C'MON, IT'S BEDTIME.
I SAY I ONLY GO IF UNCLE WILL
PLAY THE VIOLIN.
VIOLIN WAS CLEARLY AN INSTRUMENT
THAT I LOVED.
THERE WERE TOO MANY PIANISTS IN
THE FAMILY.
I NEEDED TO DO SOMETHING
DIFFERENT.
SO WHEN THE OPPORTUNITY AROSE TO
PLAY THE VIOLIN, I SEIZED IT
IMMEDIATELY.
AND IT SEEMED QUITE EASY.
I MEAN, NOT EASY.
THE VIOLIN IS NEVER EASY.
BUT IT WAS FAIRLY NATURAL FOR ME
TO PUT THE BOW ON THE STRIPPING
AND START TO VIBRATE AND MAKE A
SINGING SOUND.

Steve says UNTIL IT WASN'T.
YOU HAD TO GIVE IT UP AT ONE POINT?

Peter says MANY YEARS LATER, IN MY LATE
30s, BY WHICH TIME I HAD
PLAYED ALMOST 2,000 CONCERTS ON
THE VIOLIN, WHICH I'M GRATEFUL FOR.
I HAD A VOCAL DYSTONIA DEVELOP
WHERE I LOST CONTROL OF THE
FINGERS AND I REALIZED THIS WAS
NOT GOING TO COME BACK EASILY.
ANOTHER DOOR I FELT COULD OPEN
AT THAT POINT BECAUSE I HAD
ALWAYS HAD AN INTEREST IN
CONDUCTING AND I STUDIED
CONDUCTING, BUT I NEVER FELT IN
MY 20s, I WANT TO BE ON THE
PODIUM AND TELL EVERYBODY HOW I
WANT THIS BRAHMS TO GO.
I SAID NOW PERHAPS I'M READY TO
SHARE MY IDEA OF INTERPRETATION
WITH A LARGE GROUP OF PEOPLE.

Steve says YOU MUST KNOW LEONA
BOYD, RIGHT?
SHE HAD THE SAME THING, DYSTONIA.

Peter says AND LEON FLETCHER WHO
RECENTLY PLAYED IN TORONTO AND
WE TOOK THE PERFORMANCE ALSO TO
MONTREAL AND OTTAWA, HE DIDN'T
PLAY FOR MANY YEARS BECAUSE OF
DYSTONIA, AND THERE ARE MANY
CASES OF IT.

Steve says HERE'S A BID OF AN
ODD QUESTION, BUT WHAT SEPARATES
A GREAT CONDUCTOR FROM JUST A
GOOD CONDUCTOR?

Peter says PROBABLY A GREAT CONDUCTOR IS
ONE WHO, FOR WHATEVER REASON IT
IS, GIVES YOU ABSOLUTELY NO
CHOICE BUT TO PLAY A CERTAIN WAY
AT EVERY GIVEN MOMENT, THAT YOU
KNOW EXACTLY WHERE THAT
CONDUCTOR WANTS THE MUSIC TO GO,
EXACTLY THE CHARACTER OF THE
SOUND, AND THE TEMPO IS ALMOST
SECOND NATURE BECAUSE IT ALL HAS
BECOME ABOUT THE INTERPRETATION
AND LIVING THE MOMENT.
A GOOD CONDUCTOR IS SOMEBODY WHO
IS EASY TO FOLLOW AND EFFICIENT
AND THE ORCHESTRA IS
COMFORTABLE.
BUT IT DOESN'T GO FAR ENOUGH
BEYOND THAT.

Steve says I SHOULD HAVE SET
THIS UP BY SAYING: THAT WILL BE
THE FIRST OF SEVERAL ODD
QUESTIONS COMING AT YOU NOW.
SO HERE'S ANOTHER ONE.
WE SAW YOU OFF THE TOP THERE
DOING YOUR THING, CONDUCTING.
THE ORCHESTRA SOUNDS
MAGNIFICENT.
YOU'VE CLEARLY REHEARSED.
YOU'VE GOTTEN TO A POINT WHERE
YOU'RE CONTENT TO SHOW IT TO THE
PUBLIC.
AT THAT POINT, DOES THE
ORCHESTRA STILL REALLY NEED YOU
UP FRONT DOING YOUR THING?

The caption changes to "Peter Oundjian, @MaestroOundjian."

Peter says AT TIMES, NO.
AND IN FACT ONE OF THE KEYS TO
CONDUCTING IS TO KNOW WHEN THEY
DON'T NEED A LOT OF INFORMATION.
BECAUSE IF YOU KEEP SUPPLYING
INFORMATION THAT THEY DON'T
REALLY NEED, YOU WON'T HAVE AS
MUCH EFFECT WHEN YOU FINALLY
TURN AROUND AND SAY, "NOW,
HERE'S A MOMENT WHERE WE REALLY
NEED TO SHARE SOMETHING
IMPORTANT."
SO YOU HAVE TO FIGURE OUT WHAT
THE PACING OF THIS
INFORMATION-SHARING NEEDS TO BE.
AND SOMETIMES YOU LET THEM GO.
RIGHT NOW I'M DOING BRAHMS FIRST
SYMPHONY WHEN THE LAST MOVEMENT
THEME ...
THAT GORGEOUS THEME COMES.
THEY DON'T NEED ANYTHING.

The caption changes to "Connect with us: TVO.org. Twitter: @theagenda; Facebook, YouTube, Periscope, Instagram."

Steve says SO WHAT DO YOU DO AT THAT MOMENT?

Peter says YOU FEEL THE BLISS OF THE MOMENT.

Steve says JUST MINIMAL GESTURES?

Peter says YOU SHOW A LINE.
YOU JUST SHOW WHERE THE LINE IS
GOING AND YOU SHAPE THE PHRASE
AS THEY SHAPE IT.
AND THEY KNOW... IT'S ONE OF
THOSE MOMENTS WHERE THEY
SAY, "OH, HE REALLY TRUSTS US.
HE REALLY RESPECTS WHAT WE CAN DO."
AND THERE'S SOMETHING VERY
IMPORTANT ABOUT THAT.

Steve says DON'T MISUNDERSTAND
THESE QUESTIONS BECAUSE I'M NOT
TRYING TO PUSH YOU OUT OF A JOB.
YOU'RE LEAVING ANYWAY BUT I'M
JUST SAYING...
IF, FOR EXAMPLE, THE CONCERT
WERE TO START WITH YOU GETTING
OUT THERE AND JUST, FOR 10
SECONDS, SETTING THE PACE, AND
THEN YOU WALKED OFF, AND YOU
SAID, "OKAY, GUYS, YOU'RE ON
YOUR OWN.
TAKE IT TO THE FINISH LINE."
COULD THAT HAPPEN?

Peter says IT WOULD DEPEND ENTIRELY WHAT
THE PIECE WAS.
THERE ARE SOME PIECES WHICH ARE
SORT OF (INDISCERNIBLE) FOR
EXAMPLE, THEY COULD PLAY THE
MARRIAGE OF FIGARO WITH ONE
GESTURE...
BECAUSE SOMEBODY IS ALWAYS
PLAYING THE RHYTHM.
THEY JUST LISTEN TO EACH OTHER.
WHEN YOU'RE CONDUCTING THAT,
YOU'RE JUST HAVING A BIT OF FUN,
REALLY.
IT'S ALMOST MORE TO SAY TO THE
AUDIENCE, LET'S LISTEN TO
THAT...

Steve says DIRECTING THE
AUDIENCE TO WHERE THEY SHOULD BE
PAYING ATTENTION.

Peter says IF YOU WANT TO PLAY

He hums a tune, then continues
WITHOUT A CONDUCTOR, YOU HAVE TO REHEARSE
FOR ABOUT A YEAR.

Steve says I GUESS AS THE
MAESTRO YOU GET TO CHOOSE WHAT
YOU WANT TO DO.
IS THERE MUSIC YOU ACTUALLY
PREFER NOT TO DO?

Peter says I MEAN, WE ALWAYS LIKE TO SAY
WHEN PEOPLE SAY WHAT'S YOUR
FAVOURITE PIECE, OUR ANSWER IS
ALWAYS: OH, MY FAVOURITE PIECE
IS WHATEVER PIECE I'M PLAYING.
BUT IT'S NOT COMPLETELY TRUE,
OBVIOUSLY.
SOMETIMES YOU HAVE TO PLAY
SOMETHING AND REALLY TRY TO MAKE
SENSE OF IT, EVEN THOUGH IT
DOESN'T NECESSARILY SPEAK TO YOU
WITH THE IMMEDIACY OF SOMETHING
THAT YOU ABSOLUTELY LOVE.
AND THEN SOMETIMES YOU
COMMISSION A PIECE AND YOU DON'T
EVEN HAVE TIME TO ABSORB IT
ENOUGH TO MAKE IT FEEL LIKE YOU
KNOW WHAT STATEMENT TO MAKE.
I'M BEING TOTALLY OPEN NOW.
IT'S INEVITABLE THAT THAT WILL
HAPPEN.
BUT THE KEY REALLY TO EVERYTHING
YOU DO IS TO GIVE IT YOUR
ABSOLUTE 110 PERCENT.
SO YOU SHOULD NEVER HAVE ANYONE
THINK, HE DIDN'T LOOK INTERESTED
IN THAT PIECE.
THAT WOULD BE A DISASTER.

Steve says GOTCHA.
TIME FOR SOME POLITICS HERE,
OKAY?
TIME FOR SOME POLITICS AND
CONTROVERSY BECAUSE THE TSO HAS
BEEN INVOLVED IN THAT SOMETIMES
OVER THE YEARS.
I RECALL WHEN YOU INVITED A
PIANIST, VALENTINA, WHO HAD SOME
TWEETS ABOUT THE RUSSIA-UKRAINE
WAR THAT SOME PEOPLE WERE VERY
OFFENDED BY, AND THEN SHE WAS
DISINVITED TO PARTICIPATE IN A
CONCERT.
QUESTION: IN YOUR VIEW, SHOULD
THE POLITICAL OPINIONS OF AN
ARTIST BE A FACTOR ON WHETHER OR
NOT THEY GET INVITED TO PLAY
WITH THE T.S.O.?

The caption changes to "When the world intrudes."

Peter says IF THEY CLEARLY DISPLAY HATE
SPEECH... YOU KNOW, JUST WITHOUT
ANY ARGUMENT IN ANYBODY'S MIND,
THAT'S ONE THING.
THAT IS VERY MUCH OPEN TO
DISCUSSION.
IN THE CASE YOU REFER TO, THAT
WAS THE ENTIRE DEBATE.
I DECIDED THIS WAS A LEGAL
DEBATE AND IT WAS ENTIRELY A
MANAGEMENT BOARD DECISION TO
DEAL WITH.
ARTISTICALLY, I KNOW VALENTINA,
I'VE WORKED WITH HER.
SHE IS A VERY FINE PIANIST.
IT WAS NOT A MOMENT FOR ME, IN
MY JUDGMENT, TO STAND FORWARD
AND SAY, I DON'T CARE HOW YOU
STAND WITH THESE TWEETS, I
BELIEVE AS AN ARTIST SHE SHOULD
PLAY WITH US.
BECAUSE IT HAD GONE ACTUALLY
BEYOND THAT LEVEL OF DISCUSSION.
YOU KNOW, LOOKING BACK ON IT,
I'M NOT SURE HOW WE COULD HAVE
DEALT WITH THE SITUATION BETTER,
BUT MANY PEOPLE WOULD HAVE THEIR
OPINIONS.
IT WOULD HAVE NOT HAVE BEEN A
DISASTER IF SHE HAD COME TO
PLAY.
SOME PEOPLE WOULD HAVE HAD A
PROBLEM WITH IT.
BUT THAT HAPPENS.
THE MESSIAH, THERE WERE PEOPLE
FROM THE CATHOLIC CHURCH WHO
WERE OFFENDED BY THAT.
I UNDERSTAND.
SO OCCASIONALLY YOU DO THINGS
THAT OTHER PEOPLE DISAPPROVE OF.

Steve says THERE WAS ANOTHER ONE.
YOUR FELLOW CONDUCTOR, YOU'RE
GOING TO HAVE TO HELP ME WITH
HIS LAST NAME, VALERI,
WELL-KNOWN PUTIN SUPPORTER,
DESPITE OPPOSITION OF LGBTQ
CRITICS, HE DID GET TO PERFORM.
WAS THAT OKAY?

Peter says I THINK IT'S OKAY.
I THINK IT'S ABSOLUTELY OKAY
THAT PEOPLE MAKE THEIR
STATEMENTS AGAINST HIS VIEWS AND
AGAINST WHO HE SUPPORTS.
THAT'S THE WORLD WE LIVE IN.
FREE SPEECH.
STATE YOUR OPINION.
BUT SHOULD WE NOT HAVE THE
ARTISTRY OF VALERI BASED ON THAT
RELATIONSHIP?
I'M NOT SURE HE HIMSELF HAS EVER
MADE STRONG STATEMENTS IN
SUPPORT OF THAT OPINION, WHICH
IS HELD CLEARLY BY PUTIN AND
OTHERS IN RUSSIA.

Steve says DO YOU LIKE IT WHEN
THE ORCHESTRA GETS CAUGHT UP IN
INTERNATIONAL INTRIGUE...
BECAUSE IT BRINGS A LOT OF
PUBLICITY, WHAT THE ORCHESTRA IS
DOING, IT'S MESSY BUT...

Peter says IT'S NOT SOMETHING I LOOK
FOR, OBVIOUSLY, BUT IT'S PART OF
THE WORLD WE LIVE IN AND YOU
HAVE TO BE PREPARED TO STATE
YOUR POSITION AND SAY, THIS IS
FINE.
IT'S AN OPEN DEBATE.
THAT'S VERY HEALTHY.

Steve says FOUR YEARS AGO, YOU
WERE IN THAT CHAIR BECAUSE WE
WERE HERE TO CELEBRATE YOUR 10TH
ANNIVERSARY WITH THE TSO.
HERE IS A LITTLE SNIPPET FROM
THAT CONVERSATION.
SHELDON, GO.

A clip plays on screen with the caption "Peter Oundjian. December 16, 2013."
In the clip, Peter talks to Steve in the studio.

Peter says THE L.A. TIMES REPORTED A
COUPLE OF YEARS AGO THAT WE HAVE
THE YOUNGEST AVERAGE AGED
AUDIENCE OF ANY ORCHESTRA IN
NORTH AMERICA, WHICH IS 124.

[LAUGHTER]

Peter says IT'S 49

Steve says THAT'S GOOD.

Peter says FIRST OF ALL YOU THINK, OH,
IT SHOULD BE 28 OR SOMETHING.
BUT REALISTICALLY SPEAKING, 49
IS ACTUALLY A PRETTY FINE
AVERAGE AGE FOR A SYMPHONY
ORCHESTRA BECAUSE OBVIOUSLY A
LOT OF PEOPLE, ONCE THE KIDS
HAVE LEFT HOME AND THEY'RE OUT
OF COLLEGE, NOW THEY HAVE TIME
TO GO TO THE SYMPHONY.

The clip ends.

Steve says HOW MUCH PROGRESS
HAVE YOU MADE... NEVER MIND
YOU... THE ENTIRE SYMPHONY
ORCHESTRA WORLD MADE ON THAT
CHALLENGE SINCE THEN?

The caption changes to "Future audiences."

Peter says I DON'T HAVE THE MOST RECENT
NUMBERS, ACTUALLY.
THERE ARE SOME THINGS THAT HAVE
CHANGED, WHICH HAVE FURTHER
REDUCED, I WOULD SAY, THE
AVERAGE AGE OF AN ORCHESTRA
ATTENDANT, AND THAT IS THAT WE
DO A LOT OF FILMS NOWADAYS.
WE PLAY FILM SCORES AND SHOW THE
FILM.
I'VE NEVER WITNESSED ONE OF
THESE THINGS, BELIEVE IT OR NOT,
BECAUSE I DON'T CONDUCT THEM.

Steve says I HAVE.

Peter says OH, YOU WITNESSED IT.

Steve says YOU GUYS DID "JAWS."
IT WAS PHENOMENAL.
A GREAT EXPERIENCE.

Peter says I WAS THINKING I WISH I COULD GO.
WHAT AN EXCITING VISCERAL
EXPERIENCE.
NOT JUST HEAR THE MUSIC BUT SEE
IT BEING CREATED BY INDIVIDUALS.
THAT ATTRACTS A VERY YOUNG
AUDIENCE.

Steve says WHAT ABOUT TSO SOUND
CHECK.
THAT'S SOMETHING DESIGNED TO GET
YOUNG PEOPLE.
WHAT'S THAT ABOUT?

Peter says IT'S GREAT.
IT STARTED JUST AS I ARRIVED,
14, 15 YEARS.
I BECAME MUSIC DIRECTOR IN
JANUARY 2003, ACTUALLY.
THAT'S QUITE A WHILE AGO.
THE IDEA OF SOUND CHECK WAS TO
HAVE A KIND OF CLUB.
PEOPLE WOULD REGISTER ON THE
INTERNET, AND ONCE YOU'RE A
MEMBER, YOU COULD SIGN UP FOR UP
TO TWO TICKETS FOR ANY CONCERT.
THEY WERE $10 EACH AT THAT TIME.
I THINK THEY'RE A LITTLE BIT
MORE NOW.
BUT THE GREAT PART OF IT WAS THE
SECOND PERSON COULD BE SOMEONE
OF ANY AGE.
YOU COULD BRING YOUR GRANDPARENT
OR GREAT AUNTIE OR WHOEVER YOU
WOULD LIKE TO.
AND THAT MADE FOR A LOVELY
FAMILY EVENING AS WELL.
BUT WE'VE HAD... I MEAN, I DON'T
KNOW, PROBABLY 100,000 MEMBERS
AT THIS POINT.
IT'S BEEN A GREAT SUCCESS.

Steve says SEATTLE SYMPHONY
DOES SOMETHING CALLED UNTUXED
WITH THE IDEA BEING, YOU DON'T
HAVE TO DRESS IN A TUXEDO COULD
GO TO A SHOW... A CONCERT,
EXCUSE ME.
HOW IMPORTANT IS IT, IN YOUR
VIEW, THAT CONCERT GOERS NOT BE
INTIMIDATED BY OR BE
OUTPRETENTIOUSED.

Peter says I'VE ALWAYS BEEN
ANTI-ELITIST.
THAT'S WHY I WELCOME PEOPLE WHEN
THEY COME TO THE HALL AND I
SPEAK ABOUT THE GUEST ARTISTS OR
HOW I MET THEM...

Steve says THAT'S GREAT.
MOST CONDUCTORS DON'T DO THAT,
BUT I REALLY LOVE THAT.

Peter says IT'S FUNNY. UNTUXED.
IT'S VERY CLEVER.
I HAVE TO SAY THAT THE ONLY
PROBLEM WITH IT IS THAT IT
IMPLIES THAT ACTUALLY EVERYBODY
WOULD BE WEARING A TUX OR MIGHT
BE WEARING A TUX.
I'M NOT SURE I'VE EVER SEEN
ANYONE IN THE AUDIENCE WEARING A
TUX, AND I CERTAINLY WOULDN'T
PARTICULARLY WANT TO, UNLESS
IT'S A VERY SPECIAL EVENING.
WE WELCOME OUR LISTENERS DRESSED
IN MESSY JEANS, T-SHIRTS... I
DON'T CARE HOW THEY COME.
JUST COME AND ENJOY THE MUSIC
AND LISTEN QUIETLY AND ABSORB
WHAT'S GOING ON AROUND YOU AND
ENJOY THE OTHER PEOPLE'S
ENJOYMENT, WHICH IS PART OF THE
MAGIC OF IT, AFTER ALL.

Steve says THERE IS MAGIC.
BUT IT ALSO CAN BE AN
INTIMIDATING SET OF
CIRCUMSTANCES, RIGHT?
THERE ARE SOMETIMES YOU DON'T
KNOW IF YOU'RE SUPPOSED TO
APPLAUD OR WHEN YOU'RE SUPPOSED
TO APPLAUD.
I GET TO THE END OF THE FIRST
MOVEMENT... I DON'T APPLAUD AT
THE END OF THE FIRST, SECOND,
AND THIRD MOVEMENT... HOW DO YOU
DEAL WITH ALL OF THAT?

Peter says I'VE DEALT WITH THAT OVER THE
YEARS.
I DON'T NECESSARILY APPROVE OF
WHAT IS ONLY ABOUT 115-YEAR-OLD
TRADITION, WHICH IS TO GET TO
THE END OF AN INCREDIBLY
EXCITING FIRST MOVEMENT OF A
TCHAIKOVSKY VIOLIN CONCERTO AND
INCREDIBLE EXCITEMENT HAS TAKEN
PLACE AND VIRTUOSITY ON THE
INSTRUMENT AND YOU COME TO THIS
ROUSING END AND EVERYBODY GOES...

Steve says YOU'RE SUPPOSED TO
SIT THERE AND DO NOTHING.

Peter says OR COUGH.
IT'S RIDICULOUS.
OF COURSE PEOPLE APPLAUDED IN
TCHAIKOVSKY'S TIME.
A MOVEMENT LIKE THAT, I TOTALLY
ENCOURAGE IT.
AT THE END OF A SLOW MOVEMENT
WHERE THE ATMOSPHERE IS
EXTRAORDINARILY BEAUTIFUL AND
INTENSE OR CALM, WHATEVER IT
HAPPENS TO BE, THE SILENCE THEN
IS SORT OF PART OF THE END OF
THE MOVEMENT, AND WE DON'T NEED
APPLAUSE AT THAT POINT.
SO I HAVE A WAY OF CONTROLLING
WHEN I'D LIKE PEOPLE TO APPLAUD
AND PERHAPS WHEN NOT.

Steve says YOU ARE, AS WE COME
INTO THE HOME STRETCH HERE, YOU
ARE KIND OF A CITIZEN OF THE
WORLD INASMUCH AS YOU'RE FROM
HERE BUT GREW UP IN ENGLAND,
YOU'VE GOT A PLACE IN
CONNECTICUT.
YOU OBVIOUSLY TRAVELLED TONS
OVER THE COURSE OF YOUR MUSICAL
CAREER.
WHERE ARE YOU TRULY AT HOME?

The caption changes to "Now what?"

Peter says HMM.
WELL, I'M DEFINITELY AT HOME IN
TORONTO.
I MEAN, IT'S A CITY I WAS BORN
IN.
NOW, OUR SON IS LIVING HERE.
MY NEPHEW IS WITH THE MAPLE
LEAFS ORGANIZATION.

Steve says WHO IS THAT?

Peter says HE'S CAPTAIN OF THE MARLIES,
IN FACT.
BEN SMITH IS HIS NAME.

Steve says OKAY.
I DIDN'T KNOW THAT.

Peter says GREAT HOCKEY PLAYER.
WON A STANLEY CUP WITH THE
CHICAGO BLACKHAWKS.
SO WE'VE HAD FAMILY AROUND... MY
SISTER LIVES HERE.
ONE OF MY BROTHERS HAS LIVED
HERE INTERMITTENTLY OVER THE
YEARS.
WE HAVE FAMILY IN TORONTO.
BUT HOME IS ACTUALLY NEW
YORK-CONNECTICUT.
IT HAS BEEN SINCE 1995.
I'M RESIDENT IN THE U.S.,
ALTHOUGH I HAVE VARIOUS
CITIZENSHIPS.

Steve says WHAT HAVE YOU GOT?

Peter says WELL, I HAVE OF COURSE CANADIAN.

Steve says YES?

Peter says AND U.S. AND U.K., OR WHAT
WILL SOON BE ENGLISH OR SOMETHING.

Steve says NOT E.U. ANYMORE, OR
WHATEVER.
YOU HAVE... YOU HAVE A SERIES OF
FAREWELL CONCERTS COMING UP AT
THE END OF JUNE THAT ARE GOING
TO BE... AND I WAS TELLING YOU
EARLIER, I BOUGHT MY TICKETS FOR
THIS A YEAR AGO BECAUSE I DIDN'T
WANT TO GET SHUT OUT.
YOU'RE DOING BEETHOVEN'S NINTH.
YOU HAVE "THANK YOU TORONTO" ON
FRIDAY, THE 22nd OF JUNE,
12:30 P.M.
WHAT ARE YOU GOING TO MISS ABOUT
THIS JOB?

Peter says OH.
A LOT.
REALLY, A LOT.
IT'S BEEN KIND OF A LIFE'S WORK
IN 14 YEARS, BUT ALSO ONE OF THE
MOST FORTUNATE THINGS THAT COULD
EVER HAPPEN TO ANYBODY, THAT
YOU'RE OFFERED AN OPPORTUNITY TO
DO IN YOUR TOWN OF BIRTH, TO DO
THIS KIND OF WORK THAT HAS THE
POTENTIAL AT LEAST TO HAVE A
STRONG IMPACT ON SO MANY PEOPLE
AND ON THE CULTURAL LIFE OF THE
WHOLE CITY, IN EDUCATION IN
TERMS OF MEETING ALL KINDS OF
PEOPLE, SOME OF WHOM HAVE COME
FROM EUROPE OR SOUTH AMERICA
ALONE AND HAD FELT SO ALONE IN
TORONTO.
I HAVE PEOPLE THAT COME OUT TO
ME, I DISCOVERED THE TORONTO
SYMPHONY EIGHT YEARS AGO AND IT
WAS THE FIRST TIME I REALLY FELT
LIKE I WAS AT HOME IN THE CITY,
AND I COME EVERY MONTH, OR
WHATEVER IT IS.
AND THEN, OF COURSE, ALL THE
WONDERFUL PATRONS, AUDIENCE
MEMBERS.
I MEAN, IT'S JUST BEEN AN
EXTREMELY RICH EXPERIENCE FOR
ME.
BUT OF COURSE THERE'S ALSO SOME
OF THE WORK THAT IS VERY PAINFUL
AND SORT OF ENDLESS, AND THE
WORRY ABOUT THE FINANCES, WILL
YOU BE ABLE TO RAISE ENOUGH
MONEY?
AND, YOU KNOW, WILL YOUR
PROGRAMMING DO WELL?
IS SOMETIMES YOU COME UP WITH A
PROGRAM AND THINK, OH, PEOPLE
ARE GOING TO LOVE THAT.
AND IT DOESN'T SELL SO WELL.
AND THEN YOU HAVE TO PUSH IT IN
SOME WAYS.
AND OTHER TIMES IT'S VERY
GRATIFYING, YOU WALK ONTO THE
STAGE AND SAY, WELL, THIS
PROGRAM IS PRETTY ECLECTIC AND
LOOK AT ALL THE PEOPLE.
THE NEW CREATION FESTIVAL.
VERY EXCITING.
ALL THE NEW MUSIC WE'VE DONE
OVER THE PAST 14 YEARS, ALL THE
COMPOSERS THAT HAVE COME TO
VISIT, TREMENDOUS ENERGY AROUND
THAT.
I WILL MISS THAT VERY MUCH.
AND I WILL MISS THE PLAYERS
BECAUSE THEY'RE A WONDERFUL
GROUP OF PEOPLE.
THEY ARE SO WARM.
THEY ARE REALLY LIKE A FAMILY.
AND IT'S A JOY TO BE ON THE
PODIUM IN FRONT OF THEM.

Steve says WELL, WE WISH YOU
GREAT GOOD LUCK WITH WHATEVER
COMES NEXT. DO YOU KNOW WHAT
THAT'S GOING TO BE?

The caption changes to "Producer: Wodek Szemberg, @wodekszemberg."

Peter says FOR THE MOMENT I'M DOING
QUITE A LOT OF GUEST CONDUCTING
ALL OVER THE WORLD.
SOME VERY INTERESTING PLACES I
HAVEN'T BEEN ABLE TO GO TO ALL
THESE YEARS.
I JUST ALSO STOPPED MY MUSIC
DIRECTORSHIP AT THE ROYAL
SCOTTISH ORCHESTRA A COUPLE OF
WEEKS AGO.
IT'S REALLY THE BEGINNING OF
ANOTHER NEW CHAPTER IN MY LIFE.

The caption changes to "tvo.org/theagenda."

Steve says VERY EXCITING.
I CAN'T THANK YOU ENOUGH FOR
WHAT YOU BROUGHT TO TORONTO, TO
THE PROVINCE OF ONTARIO, TO
CANADA, AND IF I MAY GET
PERSONAL FOR A SECOND, TO ME.
BECAUSE I'VE LOVED GOING TO YOUR
CONCERTS FOR THE 14 YEARS YOU'VE
BEEN HERE. THANK YOU VERY MUCH.
THAT'S PETER OUNDJIAN, SOON TO
BE THE OUTGOING MUSICAL DIRECTOR
OF THE TORONTO SYMPHONY
ORCHESTRA. THANKS, PETER.

Peter says THANK YOU SO MUCH.

Watch: Molto Vivace, with the Maestro