In Friday’s (11/1) Plain Dealer (Cleveland, Ohio), Zachary Lewis interviews the Cleveland Orchestra Youth Orchestra’s new music director, Brett Mitchell. “That both he and some 60 percent of the musicians were new to COYO this year forged an immediate, special bond, Mitchell said…. ‘It’s a long line of really great leadership,’ said Mitchell, who also holds a degree in composition and serves as music director of Michigan’s Saginaw Bay Symphony Orchestra. ‘The amount of personal responsibility these players take is just amazing.’ The group’s first program of the season Sunday”—music by Stravinsky, Mussorgsky, Shostakovich, and Polish composer Wojciech Kilar—“proves how seriously Mitchell takes his young charges.… With the Mussorgsky [Pictures at an Exhibition], Mitchell said he wanted the group to ‘try on a lot of different masks’ and better understand musical expression, while with the Stravinsky [Symphonies of Wind Instruments], he sought both to challenge and get to know his woodwind and brass players.” Some works later this season, which includes music by Berlioz, Hindemith, Mendelssohn, John Corigliano, and Michael Torke, “represent ‘a big stretch’ for a youth ensemble. But the conductor also said he’s ‘100 percent confident’ both groups will rise to the occasion. ‘To even be a part of it, it’s just extraordinary,’ he said.”

Posted November 1, 2013