Meet the conductor: Florin Parvulescu
June 28, 2014
Music in the Mountains Executive Director Cristine Kelly chats with Florin Parvulescu, the Romanian-born and New York raised conductor and violinist with the San Francisco Symphony. Florin will conduct the John Williams Spectacular tonight for MIM SummerFest.
CK: You have a prosperous career both as a first violinist with the San Francisco Symphony and as chamber musician. What is it that compels you to want to conduct?
FP: Well, the first piece I ever conducted was Richard Strauss's "Metamorphosen" for 23 solo strings, and I just remember what an incredible experience it was to be surrounded by all that sound, that unique, vibrant sound of strings soaring and sculpting the themes and intricate polyphony of that work.
It was very powerful and it left a deep and lasting impression on me and a desire be involved in that capacity again.
CK: As a followup, do you see these differing aspects of your career influencing each other? If so, how?
FP: As a conductor you are involved in shaping and giving direction to the piece while, of course, not playing a single note on an instrument, but being aware of what it takes to play a passage on an instrument makes you appreciate what the player is going through to produce that sound.
When you ask the orchestra to do something a certain way, say, the winds to breathe at a certain point or the strings to play a certain bowing that makes the phrase sound more legato, it helps to know what is possible and hopefully facilitates achieving that effect.
CK: You mention in your bio that your parents were your musical inspiration. Can you tell us how?
FP: There was always music on in the house, the radio or LPs in those days,and while my parents are not professional musicians they loved (and still do) classical music and made sure I was exposed to as much of it as possible.
We would go hear the George Enesco Philharmonic in Bucharest as often as they had time and a few times the Opera as well.
When we moved to New York we went to Carnegie Hall, I think I heard Henryk Szeryng's last recital there, and of course to the Philharmonic and the Met. That early exposure was key to my later musical development and later to becoming a professional musician.
CK: You've spent a lot of time on the road with SFS. Do you like traveling?
FP: Anything you might like to do while you are here with is this summer? I'm looking forward to spending some time outdoors in Grass Valley and enjoying a fine meal or two when I'm there.
Florin will lead the MIM Orchestra at 8 p.m. today at the Nevada County Fairgrounds.
For more information, or to order tickets, please log onto MusicInTheMountains.org or call the MIM Box Office at 530-265-6124.