Thursday, September 10, 1998
Concert II * Nov. 15-17, 1998
Soloist: Takov Kasman, piano
Program highlights: Prokofiev: Piano Concerto No. 3 in C Major, Dvorak's Symphony No. 8 in G major
Resume: Now finishing up her eighth and final year as conductor/music director of the Vermont Symphony in Burlington and her seventh year as director of the East Texas Symphony in Tyler Texas, Tamarkin's list of accomplishments is impressive--if only for the volume of work she seems to be able to accomplish. While the East Texas Symphony's annual concert series is similar in scope to our own concert schedule--there are 11 concerts per year--the Vermont Symphony offers its patrons some 45 concerts. And, although some of those are handled by guest conductors, Tamarkin conducts the bulk of them. Tamarkin also currently teaches at the University of Minnesota. She served as associate conductor of the Dallas Symphony from 1989-1994 and was music director of the Fox Valley Symphony in Appleton, Wis. from 1982-1990. She holds a master's degree in music from Northwestern University and a doctor of arts degree from Peabody Conservatory.
Said to be: a consensus-builder, well-liked by her public and her musicians. Back in Burlington, Tamarkin is popularly known as "our Kate" and thought of as a welcome contrast to her predecessor, a dictatorial type. Tamarkin is said to be "very egalitarian" in her interactions with musicians, someone who is very interested in focusing on emerging artists and community outreach. The Vermont Symphony's territory includes rural, outlying areas and Tamarkin has reportedly worked hard to bring the symphony to members of the public who might not otherwise get to hear her.
Watch/listen for: An enthusiastic conducting style, Tamarkin is especially fond of what one source described as "real, lively music." For her tryout in Vermont, she reportedly chose Shostakovich's challenging 10th Symphony and "played the heck out of it." The tricky part of her series in Monterey County may be the Prokofiev piano concerto. A competent conductor, Tamarkin nonetheless "gets really nervous in concertos," reports one source. "It's almost like you don't feel safe coming out of [improvisational] cadenzas and stuff. You do, but there's always a little tiny edge of fear."
Bottom line: If Tamarkin can pull off her audition, she might be a great pick for the Monterey Symphony. As one of a very few number of female conductors, she'd automatically put the symphony on the map and create a buzz in the musical community. Her enthusiasm and community appeal could help blur recent memories of symphony doldrums.