In the November issue of Princeton magazine (N.J.), Nancy Plum interviews Jacques Lacombe, music director for the past four years of the New Jersey Symphony Orchestra. On how he approaches the role of a conductor: “I have always felt from the beginning that as a conductor I was a musician among musicians. Perhaps 50 years ago there was more of a distance between conductor and musicians, but I never felt this approach.… I always try to connect with community and create partnerships with different people in specific communities.” On music education: “The U.S. faces the same challenges as Canada, especially in public schools…. [Music] … opens imagination and really improves concentration and a sense of working together … but schools … often look at numbers and where to save money.” On collaborations at the NJSO: “We are finding unusual ways to present music, including neglected repertoire and collaborations with theaters, lighting designers and other non-musical organizations and individuals.” On working with NJSO musicians: “The Orchestra is extremely quick at learning new repertoire, and the players are good at performing in many different styles—a rare quality I appreciate in the Orchestra.”

Posted November 22, 2013