Osmo Vanska: 59, music director of the Minnesota Orchestra

"I usually have one piece of luggage full of scores I'm reading, so classical music is always connected to work. At dinner, I can relax when I'm listening to jazz. I was a professional clarinetist, so I like to listen to Benny Goodman recordings. And this young clarinetist, Anat Cohen. I went to hear her at a local jazz club and really liked her. As a teenager, I found musicians like Elvis [pictured] and Paul Anka, but had to hide them from my parents. I like these long-line guys who have seen many winters, many summers. The only criteria is that it should be well done. The music should tell you something, some kind of story. It should communicate. That's more interesting than the mechanical kind of stuff. Do you now 'Apocalyptica'? It's a Finnish group of three cellists out of the Sibelius Academy and a drummer who have worked with Metallica. They have come out from the ghetto called classical music and done something no one else did before. They have also sold millions of CDs. I like this idea that you can use your cello to do real rock-and-roll or electric. If you are a well-trained musician, you can do many things. I don't want to send everybody there, but why not try? My older son plays electric violin in a battle metal band called Turisas. After doing a Carnegie Hall concert, I walked a few blocks down on Broadway, and was listening to Turisas. It was a great moment in my life. We can play loud too, but when I listened to them, my stomach felt the bass drum and bass guitar. I would like to get a similar sound from the symphonists. There are things that should give exactly the same physical feeling in your body, like Stravinsky's `Rite of Spring.'"
Luis Sinco/Los Angeles Times | MGM
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