Cut & Paste: Conductor Gemma New engages her audience with words and music
New Zealand-born conductor Gemma New is on a roll. She’s on the cover of the October issue of International Musician and will make her debut with New York Philharmonic in November. In St. Louis, she made history on two fronts in September when she led St. Louis Symphony’s opening-night concert. She was the first woman and the the first resident conductor to do so.
New, 31, spoke with Cut & Paste in Powell Hall after leading the orchestra through its first rehearsal for opening night.
She talked about the importance of new music and the need for artistic leaders in the European classical-music world to be able to communicate with audiences about their work. “When we want to say … 'This concert is going to be great,'” she said, “I think it’s very important to be able to give that message through words.” She also explained why she loves Elgar’s “Enigma Variations,” especially the part that evokes a bulldog chasing a stick into a stream.
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