The San Luis Obispo Symphony is excited to welcome our fourth auditioning conductor David Handel, Principal Guest Conductor of the Moscow City Symphony - Russian Phiharmonic. . Maestro Handel answered our questions we are posing to each conductor in order to get to know them a little better.
Q: What is your first recollection of music?
My grandparents. My grandfather would tempt me by showing me the violin he played as a youngster and that one day it might be mine. My grandmother taught me piano, the Brahms Lullaby, from the kitchen while she cooked, admonishing my mistakes, and the family always encouraged me. When my parents gave me a subscription to the local Philharmonic, this was decisive.
Q: When did you decide to make music your career?
Once regularly attending concerts of the Buffalo Philharmonic, having heard many of that time’s great soloists live and having met them, I was decided, as if there were no other world. I must have been twelve or thirteen.
Q: Do you have a mentor or influence?
I was fortunate to have had many generous and very fine teachers. The mentors who left the biggest impact were Tom Halpin (early violin teacher from California, Galamian School), Ruggiero Ricci, Gustav Meier and Kurt Masur (Masur made an indelible impact).
Q: What do you know of San Luis Obispo?
I know that the region is geographically beautiful, that it is the soil and son of great wines and vintners, and that it is supposed to be the “happiest place” in the US. My wife is vegan and I imagine this too to be a part of the regional culinary values. These few factors make for a strong recommendation.
Q: What are the top three tunes you listen to on your iPod?
I listen on my iPhone to a variety of stuff when out for the daily long walk. I am currently fascinated with Berlioz’s “Harold in Italy.” “Sting” is a definite favorite. My wife keeps me posted and I vote for Adele for the Grammy. Patsy Cline… many… I love all kinds of folkloric music, … the list is too long.
Q: What book(s) are you currently reading?
It depends upon my travel schedule, my son’s reading list and my wife’s book club. We try to stay in tune with one-another. Currently, it is “The Fencing Master” by Arturo Perez-Reverte (my wife’s suggestion) and Vargas Llosa’s “Los cachorros y Los Jefes” (my specific interest). I find Vargas Llosa a really rewarding and acidly honest read. Otherwise, history and philosophy. I like re-reading classics.