7 Questions for Bruckner’s 7th-with Music Director Donato Cabrera

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1. Your first instrument was the piano but your main instrument through college was French horn. What was it about the horn that appealed to you?

When I started 7th grade, I chose to sign up for band because I could read music and I thought I could put this skill to good use. As I’m sure is still the case now, my band director played a recording of all of the instruments for the students to choose an instrument whose sound they like. The French horn, with its noble, powerful, and dark sound immediately appealed to me. Even with piano pieces before that, I was attracted to piano music that had these particular qualities.

2. How did you transition from being a member of the orchestra to standing up and conducting in front of it?

This is a long story and took many years to materialize, but it began with being inspired by my high school band director and his incredibly inspiring abilities as a music educator. By the time I was a high school senior, I knew that I was going to become a music teacher. Little did I know then that this would morph into becoming a symphony conductor, whose primary function, in my opinion, is educational.

7. You’ve described Bruckner’s 7th Symphony as one of your favorite pieces. To anyone unfamiliar with the piece, how would you explain what’s special about it?

For me, it is quite different from all of his other symphonies. It is, particularly the first and second movements, the most lyrical and melodic and, in my opinion, the most accessible of the Bruckner symphonies, precisely because of this lyricism. However, the qualities that make all of the Bruckner symphonies so special: nobility, mystery, mysticism, high drama, are in ample abundance in this 7th Symphony.

Executive Director Aubrey Bergauer is also a former brass player (tuba, Rice University) and fan of Bruckner’s big and dramatic sound:

Donato has wanted to program Bruckner’s Seventh for as long as we’ve worked together. It’s been one of those artistic dreams for him I think. My role on the financial side sometimes is to hit the brakes on projects like that because a Bruckner symphony is big-lots of players, lots of rehearsals, extra instruments not normally used-and all that costs a lot of money. But this year was the year we could make the leap and do it.

Music Director of the California Symphony and Las Vegas Philharmonic

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