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DSO guest conductor likes to dig deep for repertoire

Digital First Media, @GraffonMusic

Posted: Thursday, January 7, 2016

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After spending nearly five years of being anchored with the Cleveland Orchestra, James Feddeck is happy to be untethered and spending his time as a guest conductor -- including this weekend's appearances conducting the Detroit Symphony Orchestra's William Davidson Community Concerts.

"I jokingly tell people I live on an airplane now, because I'm very rarely at home," Feddeck, an Oberlin Conservatory of Music graduate and winner of the Sir Georg Solti Conducting Award, says by phone from Minneapolis. "It's very fulfilling working with so many different orchestras and in so many different styles of the repertoire. Every orchestra has its own tradition and a certain way and style of doing pieces. so it's fascinating for me.

"It's interesting to take the same repertoire to different places, because the orchestras bring their own tradition to it as well as what I bring."

The goal he adds, is to make sure he and the musicians collaborate rather than clash

"I'm of the mindset one has to make it work," explains Feddeck, who was assistant conductor of the Cleveland Orchestra a music director of the Cleveland Orchestra Youth Orchestra from 2009-2013. "It's in the best interest of the music, and for the sake of the audience who are going to be attending to really make it come off as well as we can.

"I've found the best way to do that is to be open to ideas and collaboration, really. As a guest conductor it's a bit of an artificial relationship, but nothing pleases me more than when the rehearsals are such that everyone feels a certain degree of familiarity and comfort that allows us to deliver the pieces in an original inspiring manner."

Feddeck says he particularly enjoys conducting less-known works from composers' canons, which he'll be doing with the DSO via Mendelssohn's "Fair Melusina" and Schubert's "Symphony No. 3." "I like to make the case that piece like that need to be more well-known," Feddeck explains. The (Mendelssohn) overture is, oddly enough, the very first piece I conducted in Cleveland, and I've done it several times with orchestras all over the world and I always have musicians and audience members say to me, 'Why don't we know this piece? Why isn't it played more?' And that's a good question, because I think it should be. So it's gratifying they feel that way, too."

Feddeck has a full lineup of guest conducting jobs throughout the year and also performs organ recitals in Cleveland, where he resides. He'd like to have his own podium someday but isn't in a great hurry.

"It's got to be the right place," he says. "When you're talking about an orchestra as the music director, that's a very special relationship. That's someone the orchestra sees a lot, works with a lot, and that's somebody who really shapes the nature of the orchestra in a long-term way. So that's a relationship that's got to be a great fit. And hopefully I'll find that at some point."

Detroit Symphony Orchestra William Davidson Community Concert Series

8 p.m. Friday, Jan. 8 at the Village Theater at Cherry Hill, 50400 Cherry Hill Road, Canton.

8 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 9, at Kirk in the Hills Presbyterian Church, 1340 W. Long Lake Road, Bloomfield Hills.

3 p.m. Sunday, Jan. 10, at Our Lady Star of the Sea, 467 Fairford Road, Grosse Pointe Woods.

Call 313-576-5111 or visit dso.org for showtimes and ticket information on all of the shows.

Web Site: www.dso.org

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