By Lawrence Budmen

Conductor Paavo Jarvi is looking forward to his concerts this weekend with the New World Symphony. Speaking by phone from Cincinnati, Jarvi recalled his 2002 debut with the Miami based training ensemble. “I was rehearsing a work by my friend Erkki-Sven Tuur. The New World musicians really identified with the music from the point of view of rock. They understood  when I told them to play this piece like Led Zeppelin. Those concerts are a very fond memory.” Jarvi is stimulated by young  players. He has directed the UBS Verbier Festival Youth Orchestra, the European Union Youth Orchestra, and the  Russian-American Young Artists’ Orchestra. “I love working with youth orchestras,” he related. “The musicians have fewer  preconceived ideas and bring tremendous energy to their playing. With young ensembles I always make sure the program pushes  the orchestra further. I try to inject a sense of curiosity and adventure.” 

The music of the Danish composer Carl Nielsen will be the adventure at Jarvi’s New World concerts. “Nielsen deserves more  recognition,” the conductor emphatically noted. “This is music that is looking for a good champion.” Jarvi will conduct the  Overture to Nielsen’s opera Masquerade and his Symphony No.6. “The Sixth Symphony was written in the first quarter of the  twentieth century (1925) at the time of Walton and Copland. The musical language is fantastic, wonderfully strange, and  extremely original,” Jarvi stated with irrepressible enthusiasm. 

Mozart’s Symphony No.39 will complete the program. Jarvi’s approach to Mozart’s score has been greatly influenced by the  period instrument movement. “When I first heard Nikolas Harnencourt and John Eliot Gardiner conduct this music, I found it  shocking and powerful. It was a totally different sound,” Jarvi said. “One must understand the performance practice of the  era. In Mozart the term Adagio has a different meaning than in the works of Liszt or Wagner.” 

In four seasons as Music Director of the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra Jarvi has rejuvenated that venerable ensemble – the  fifth oldest in the United States. “In Cincinnati our support is tremendously strong. The orchestra really matters to the  community,” the conductor added. Jarvi will be recording the Concertos for Orchestra of Bela Bartok and Witold Lutoslawski  when he returns to Cincinnati. He feels that the Lutoslawski is “a great work that is not absolutely standard repertoire.”  Jarvi is also Artistic Director of the Deutsche Kammerphilharmonie, a touring chamber orchestra based in Bremen, and Artistic  Advisor of the Estonian National Symphony Orchestra in Tallnin. 

Music runs in the Jarvi family. Paavo’s father is the distinguished Estonian conductor Neemi Jarvi (soon to become Music  Director of both the New Jersey Symphony Orchestra and the Hague Residentie Orchestra). “He is an erudite musician who gave  me a sense of curiosity. His enthusiasm always ignited when he learned about new works and new composers. He really enjoys  the process of music making,” Jarvi recalled. Paavo’s brother Kristjan Jarvi is conductor of the New York based Absolute  Ensemble and his sister Maarika Jarvi is a solo flutist. 


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