Conductor makes NY debut in gold slippers

Conductor makes NY debut in gold slippers

From our roving critic Susan Hall:

Chloé van Soeterstède, French-born founder of London’s Arch Symphonia and principal guest conductor of the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra, made her New York debut at Lincoln Center. A mentee of Marin Alsop and a Dudamel fellow in Los Angeles, Ms.van Soeterstède is tipped for a major career. Her dress is a signal of her unusual talents. Stepping up to the podium of the Rose Theater in gold Mary Jane slippers with a slight pump, she wore a flowing black blouse over tight gold pants.

Debussy’s Prelude to the Afternoon of the Faun led the program. The opening flute melody is light, yet clear in it varied recurrences. The players in The Orchestra Now (TON) created by Leon Botstein, responded attentively with striking uniformity in the strings.

Peter Moore, the British trombone phenom, took up the US debut of Dani Howard’s Trombone Concerto. Smooth glissandos are peppered intermittently with tiny decorations. Challenges to the tuba’s tone depth flicker in the opening movement. In the second, the trombone moves in and out of the orchestra, in the third, it exuberantly explores the outside world with tongue-twisting agility.

Rachmaninoff’s Symphonic Dances followed, with pulsing energy. The saxophonist stood out. One heard the composer yearning for his homeland, disrupted by raging episodes of the Dies Irae. Chloé van Soeterstède appears to be a conductor who melds exquisite gentleness with exuberant outbursts.

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