Monday, January 18, 2016

1592 Interview with a Conductor

1592 Interview with a Conductor (Transcript)

WR: Good morning and welcome to the Wessays™ Interview.  Our guest today is Baron von Schussel the Second, associate music director and principal cymbalist with the Gladden Honkenburg Philharmonic of Gladden Honkenburg, Pennsylvania.  Happy to have you with us today, Baron von Schussel.

Boron von Schussel:  Thank you for inviting me. Before we go any further, may I please let you know that my first name is Boron, I am not a “baron” or any other royalty.  Boron, like the chemical element. (chuckles)

WR: Oh, so sorry. I misread the notes here. May I call you Boron?

BvS: Of course.  

WR: Thank you. Please tell us about your orchestra. It’s not often that a town as small as Gladden Honkenburg has its own symphony.

BvS:  Sure.  My grandfather, the first Boron von Schussel arrived here in 1903.  He shortened his name from the original Schussel in der Man Erbricht  and realized there was a crying need for entertainment where he worked, the sausage factory.  So he found a few other men who felt as he did and that formed the nucleus of the orchestra.

WR: It’s only proper that a man with the name of a chemical element have something to do with a nucleus.

BvS: Hahhah. Yes.  So the band started giving free concerts in Bratwurst Park and became very popular. And we continue the tradition today.

WR: I notice that even though you’re the grandson of the founder, you are only the associate musical director.  Do you go outside the “family” for your actual music director?

BvS:  Yes, we do.  My grandfather died in 1927 and we promptly formed a national search committee.

WR:  And?

BvS: We’re still searching. Meantime my father took on the responsibilities temporarily and now, they’re mine.

WR: You’ve been searching for a music director for 89 years?

BvS: Yah. I mean “yes.” If you know of anyone who’d like to audition, please put him in touch with me.

WR: So, you pick the music, you conduct the music. All that? Why not just take the title itself?

BvS: That would be unseemly.  Plus, there’s a “no nepotism” clause in the orchestra’s charter.

WR: Of course. Now, most classical orchestras don’t have a “principle cymbalist,” or any cymbalist for that matter.  Usually, another percussionist plays the cymbals when they’re called for.

BvS:  That’s true. But my great grandfather was the principle triangleist with an orchestra in the old country.  One day he was called upon to play the cymbals and he did such a good job, they promoted him.  So the cymbals have kind of become a family tradition.  And besides, we play a lot of Tchaikovsky and a little Wagner, some Bizet … oh, and lots of Dvorak.

WR: Who picks the pieces?

BvS:  I do.

Shrapnel (New York Values Edition):

--Does Trump represent New York values as Cruz charged?  Possibly. But remember there are two New Yorks… the one where Trump and his ilk live and the one where the rest of us try to.

--About the only thing the two New Yorks share is the pace/energy axis. Those from elsewhere see that and translate it into cold/uncaring/arrogant/nasty/unfeeling. They are wrong… it’s just pace and energy.

--Friend and colleague Dave Browde puts it this way:   “...we don't care about race, creed, color, national origin, or what's in your underwear. When people need help, we help.”   Always have.
I’m Wes Richards. My opinions are my own but you’re welcome to them. ®
Please address comments to wesrichards@gmail.com
© WJR 2016

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