When David Robertson, the Chief Conductor and Artistic Director of the Sydney Symphony Orchestra (SSO) usually takes to the stage, he doesn’t make a sound. And, as with all conductors, his business is with his musicians as he weaves his magic and moulds them into conveying to the audience what he wants.
And so it was a welcome experience to see him and hear him address the audience in the Concert Hall of the Sydney Opera House last evening when he delivered the 2016 Stuart Challender Talk, tackling the question of Why should you care about the arts?
As a curtain raiser, a quartet of SSO musicians led by Concertmaster Andrew Haveron made a delightful foray into chamber music, playing Haydn ( the first movement from the String Quartet Op.76 No.5) and a brilliant arrangement for string quartet (by Haveron) of the Danse Russe from Stravinsky’s ballet Petruschka.
In is talk, Robertson drew on acoustic examples from musicians as diverse as Louis Armstrong, Steve Reich and Charles Dodge, as well as driving home his points with anecdotes from his own musical career.
Click here to read an edited version of David Robertson’s Stuart Challender Talk, delivered at the Sydney Opera House on 1 August 2016.