Thursday, September 10, 1998
Concert V1 * April 11-13
Soloist: Howard Zhang
Program highlights: Mozart, Symphony No. 31, Bartok, Concerto for Orchestra
Resume: Currently music director of the Bellas Artes Chamber Orchestra in his home town and the Morelia International Music Festival (Michoacan), this widely-experienced artist held a three-year post as associate conductor of the San Antonio (Texas) Symphony's then-new Hispanic Artist Fellowship and conducted the San Diego Symphony in a Summer Pops, all-Beethoven program in 1992. He has conducted every orchestra in Mexico and has also led a variety of orchestras throughout Europe. He received his music degree from the National University of Mexico, majoring in composition and trumpet and holds two master's degrees-one from L'Ecole Normale de Musique de Paris and one from the Vida y Movimiento School of Music in Mexico City. Local audiences can get a preview of Barrios' performances when the Mexico City native conducts the Monterey Symphony in a free concert at Quail Meadows on Oct. 4.
Said to be: capable of administering "the proverbial iron fist in a velvet glove." Barrios has received high marks for his treatment of 19th-century music. One critic wrote of the conductor's performances of Beethoven: "Barrios understands the language of the stormy German master surprisingly well, and he conveys it with conviction and directness, though without as much passion as the music demands."
Watch/listen for: whether Barrios' conducting style can handle the challenging Bartok.
Bottom Line: In his try-out, Barrios will have the double whammy of an orchestra that, after six programs, will have been through the conducting mill and a European repertoire that draws nothing from some of the Spanish/ Mexican classical music he's grown up with.