Questioning the conductors: Christian Knapp

Christian Knapp is the only guest conductor this season, with or without an orchestral post who has admitted to being interested in having his own orchestra. You can draw all sorts of conclusions from his openness. Is he angling to be the SSO’s next music director? Given his history with the orchestra as its associate conductor a few years back, the thought of returning to Seattle in the orchestra’s top artistic spot is probably very enticing. Or, perhaps he has eyes on other posts? Indianapolis is looking for a new conductor (Knapp has guest conducted there as well) and so is the Richmond Symphony.

Knapp is back in Seattle this week to lead the SSO in a performance at the Paramount Theater with the Mark Morris Dance Group. Mark Morris is back for a third year, and this year his troupe will dance to Haydn, Bach, and Vivaldi.

Established conductors, with larger (and fragile) egos, might bristle at being a secondary focus for the audience. Not Knapp, he takes it in stride. Just because Knapp’s temperament is self effacing doesn’t mean he lacks ideas about how the music he will take charge of starting tonight should sound. Quite the contrary. Knapp is full of ideas about Haydn, Bach and Vivaldi, but also new music, repertory staples, and the qualities that he would find ideal for an orchestral post in the United States or abroad.

from on .


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