BEHIND THE SCENES

Unscripted is a series of short casual video conversations with interesting figures in the performing arts industry. We get into everything from their guilty pleasures to important advice. Scroll down to see the rest of our terrific interviews.

Gemma New
Conductor
Gemma New studied violin at age 5 and piano at age 8, conducted the Christchurch Youth Orchestra as a teenager (she's from New Zealand), and read physics, mathematics and music at the University of Canterbury. She was named music director of the Hamilton Philharmonic Orchestra at age 29 and, not long after, was appointed principal guest conductor of the Dallas Symphony Orchestra (among other accomplishments).
First we caught our breath and then we sat with Gemma. We covered quite a bit of ground, as you'd imagine, but the one thing that stuck with us is how Gemma's flying baton brought her a step closer to Leonard Bernstein. Oh, and we'll forever admire someone who admires Arya Stark.

Anthony Roth Costanzo
Countertenor
Awards and accolades certainly don't elude Anthony Roth Costanzo. A small partial list of his achievements includes Musical America's 2019 Vocalist of the Year, a Grammy nomination for Best Classical Solo Vocal Album, first place at Operalia, appearances with just about every major opera company and orchestra in the world—and graduating magna cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa from Princeton University.
Though dazzled by his accomplishments, however, we found ourselves most interested in Costanzo's affinity for the Wicked Witch of the West (... the striped socks ...), eating his own gold leaf baking for 24 hours straight, and (most worrying) his insistence on an empty email inbox before bed.

Jessie Montgomery
Composer, violinist, educator
Jessie Montgomery's compositions are "turbulent, wildly colorful and exploding with life," according to The Washington Post. Provocative as her music is, she privately told Unscripted of her guilty craving: a profoundly frothy cappuccino.
As usual, we covered quite a bit of ground as Ms. Montgomery shared thoughts about Leonard Bernstein, Fela Kuti, and her personal identification with Winnie the Pooh.

Giancarlo Guerrero
Music Director, Nashville Symphony
The expressive and articulate music director of the Nashville Symphony lately has been spending his days battling video-game zombies and binge-watching shows about a rumpled, raincoat-clad 1970's detective.
Guerrero is also music director of the Wrocław Philharmonic in Poland and principal guest conductor of the Gulbenkian Orchestra in Lisbon, Portugal. Beyond all that, he has important advice for music directors: make sure your ideas are original and honest or your musicians will "smell blood in the water and eat you alive." Oh, also, be sure to try a diet Cubra Libre.

Sarah Shafer
Soprano
Yes, Sarah Shafer has plied her craft on the world's renowned stages and has a "crystalline sound, perfectly true intonation, glowing warmth, and total presence," according to Opera News.
More importantly, Ms. Shafer disclosed to Unscripted how she connects loose wigs and tall tenors; Bach and Jimmy Fallon; comedians on YouTube; and why, if she doesn't understand the words, we believe she'll never again sing in Italian without Google Translate close by.

Bill Charlap
Pianist
Winter is Bill Charlap's favorite season. The Grammy-nominated jazz pianist confided this to Unscripted when we chatted with him recently at Steinway Hall in New York City (what better place?), so we threw down a challenge: play us a little winter.
Not pausing a beat, the virtuoso turned to the keyboard and in moments we were surrounded by swirling snow flurries and the scent of roasting chestnuts. Join us as he also shares his desire for a sit-down with George Gershwin and the inspiration he gets from his wife, Canadian jazz pianist Renee Rosnes.

Louis Langrée
Music Director, Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra &
Lincoln Center's Mostly Mozart Festival
Exhilarated to distraction after his first Rolling Stones concert, Louis Langrée wound up breaking two batons and had to finish conducting Don Giovanni with nothing but his bare hands and his talent.
Beethoven and Leonard Bernstein top Mr. Langrée's list of figures he'd most like to talk with, though the versatile and multi-lingual conductor felt he would be too tongue-tied to speak. He was clear, though, he would ask Mozart to correct Langrée's completion of the master's Great Mass in C minor.

Mark Volpe
President & CEO, Boston Symphony Orchestra
Mark Volpe could have been a contender, even if in his own mind—centerfielder for the Red Sox ("... at 62, a little farfetched ...") or a professional clarinetist ("... if there's a piece shorter than three minutes, I'm your man ..."). Still, he seems to have found his calling, having led the Boston Symphony Orchestra to resounding financial and artistic success for 22 years.
Mr. Volpe announced he plans to step down in early 2021. But before he moves on from such distinguished tenure, he sat with Unscripted and let us know the best advice he ever received, straight from the legendary Isaac Stern.

Tania León
Composer & Conductor
Tania León has a wonderfully diverse background—Cuban-born with French, Spanish, Chinese, African, and Cuban heritage. León settled in New York and was a founding member and the first musical director of Arthur Mitchell's Dance Theater of Harlem, establishing its music department, music school, and orchestra.
León took a moment with Unscripted to described the actual "magic" of her childhood, her dream of global travel, and the hard choice she has among Häagen-Dazs, Groom gelato, and Indian malai ice cream.

Christopher Tin
Composer
A Mozambique peace treaty signing, an X-Men movie, Carnegie Hall, the United Nations ... Christopher Tin's music has played a role in quite a variety of events. Christopher described how he found himself creating music for video games, films, and classical audiences—and how his enthusiasm during a conducting debut turned his baton into a flying projectile.
After hastily donning proper protective gear, Unscripted sat with the renowned composer to find out about his process, his perceptions, and why he hopes singer/songwriter Florence Welch sees this interview.

Kim Notelmy
President, Dallas Symphony Orchestra
Unscripted caught up for four revealing minutes with Kim Notelmy, head of the Dallas Symphony Orchestra and former COO of the Boston Symphony Orchestra.
A few highlights: her addictions (chocolate), a guilty pleasure (fabulous wine ["I wish it was non-alcoholic so I could have more ...]), an embarrassing moment (a wardrobe malfunction brought to a swift end thanks to her squad), and why the country is better off that she didn't pursue her youthful dream job.

Stewart Copeland
Drummer & Composer
Calling Stewart Copeland versatile is a real understatement. He is a founding member and drummer of The Police, inductee to the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, and composer for orchestra, opera, film soundtracks and video games. Just to round things out, Copeland spends his leisure time rollerskating and playing polo.
Copeland invited Unscripted into his home studio to discuss his time-travel fantasy, turning disaster into a bonding experience, and sharing get-rich schemes and conspiracy theories with his "chuckle buddies."

Monica Ellis
Bassoonist
Monica Ellis is a busy bassoonist—a renowned musician, a founding member of Imani Winds and the group's administrative director and tour manager. She's also been a visiting professor or on faculty at The University of Chicago, The Hartt School, Purchase and Brooklyn College Conservatories of Music, Mannes School of Music and The Juilliard School's Music Advancement Program.
Ellis took a break to talk with Unscripted about the right way to hold a bassoon (...not from the top...), her dreams of dinner with the Purple One and her special spreadsheet powers.

Francisco J. Núñez
Conductor, Composer, Founder of Young People's Chorus NYC,
Musical America Educator of the Year
Famed conductor, composer and educator Francisco J. Núñez sat with Unscripted to tell us about children fainting onstage, his journey toward being a dog lover, and his secret and guilty pleasure (hint: he keeps it in his pocket).

Aaron Diehl
Composer, Pianist
In this third installment of our behind-the-curtain interviews, Aaron Diehl, world-famous composer and pianist, tells us why James Bond is important to him and what it's like to watch sports with his Olympian mom.

Cori Ellison
Dramaturg, Santa Fe Opera
Unscripted sat with Santa Fe Opera's dramaturg, Cori Ellison, who told us what happens when characters die in the wrong spot, explained to us her "everything" beacon and let us know why dinner with Mozart would be a "blast."

Aaron Diehl
Composer, Pianist
In this third installment of our behind-the-curtain interviews, Aaron Diehl, world-famous composer and pianist, tells us why James Bond is important to him and what it's like to watch sports with his Olympian mom.

Tanya Bannister
President, Concert Artists Guild
In this second instalment, Tanya Bannister, head of Concert Artists Guild, divulges her most embarrassing career moment as well as her what she might be doing if she weren't in the performing arts.

Mason Bates
Composer, Curator, DJ
Musical America Composer of the Year 2018
During the first installment of Unscripted with world-renowned composer Mason Bates, Mason let us know his guilty pleasure and what words of sage advice he would have for his younger self.
 

NETWORK

ADVERTISEMENT

»

Updates to artist manager rosters

»

RENT A PHOTO

Search Musical America's archive of photos from 1900-1992.

 

»BROWSE & SEARCH ARCHIVE