From ECO Music Director Matthew Kraemer
I was awarded the Herbert Von Karajan Conducting Award in 2006, which afforded me the rare opportunity to serve as a conducting fellow with the Vienna Philharmonic during their annual summer residency at the Salzburg Music Festival. It was a seminal moment in my musical development made even more special because 2006 was the great Mozart year, the 250th anniversary of his birth. The Salzburg Festival had devoted its entire 5-week festival to the music of its native son. I heard every symphony, every concerto, and every opera Mozart ever wrote performed by many of the finest musicians in the world.
I had only ever heard the Vienna Philharmonic on recording, never live, so it is not hard to imagine that hearing my favorite composer, played by the world’s finest orchestra in the city where he was born, was a life-changing experience. Riccardo Muti conducted The Magic Flute that summer and I was there for many of the rehearsals and performances. It was a phenomenal production, with Diana Damrau, Rene Papa, and Paul Groves in the cast.