Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Interviews with Artists

Oftentimes we get the pleasure of interviewing guest artists who may pass through town and stop by the WGUC studios. Sometimes we even get to chat with artists over the phone about their latest releases! Recently, we had two such incidents: Paavo Jarvi, when he visited Cincinnati in February to conduct the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra; and Avi Avital, a world-class mandolinist who just released a brand-new recording. During our time with them, they willingly contributed to our Clef Notes conversation and filled me in on some of their film music thoughts.

Did you know that Paavo Jarvi’s favorite film-music composer is Toru Takemitsu? Maestro Jarvi says that he is the only well-known contemporary Japanese composer and you’ll find his work in many Kurosawa films.  Jarvi also enjoys those film composers who are more associated with the Romantic generation including Erich Korngold and Miklos Rozsa. When asked to name a favorite movie that uses pre-existing classical music, the Maestro mentioned Platoon (1986) and went on to describe the use of Samuel Barber’s Adagio for Strings during the violent scenes. 

Our second interviewee was the outstanding mandolinist Avi Avital whose new Vivaldi CD features transcriptions of Vivaldi works for the mandolin (and of course, the Vivaldi Mandolin Concerto!) We will be offering this great CD as part of our spring fund drive at WGUC later this month so be sure to request your copy when you call 513-419-7155 or go to

Mr. Avital’s favorite film music composer is John Williams. He also told us that his favorite use of pre-existing classical music in a movie is in Waltz with Bashir (2008). This film includes Bach’s Concerto No. 5 in F minor for Harpsichord and Strings, BWV 1056. The second movement sounds during a very violent scene and Avital describes it as providing contrast that is quite moving—so much that he decided to record the concerto in its entirety on his Bach album!

What about you? Do you have a favorite film music composer? What about a favorite film that uses pre-existing classical music?