Max Bragado Darman
Thursday, September 10, 1998
Concert IV * Feb. 21-23, 1999
Monterey Symphony Chorus
Program highlights: Brahms Schicksalslied (a choral work) and Beethoven's Symphony 7
Resume: This native Spaniard is the founding music director of the Orchestra of Castile and Leon, where he has served since 1991 and where he has made numerous classical recordings. He just recently wrapped up a three-year stint as music director of the Louisville Orchestra in Kentucky, and he has guest conducted orchestras around the United States, as well as numerous orchestras around the world--the London Symphony and National Orchestra of Mexico, to name a few. His work in Spain has included conducting a series of Mozart piano concertos. Locals may also recall he was a guest conductor here in 1994 and 1995. He began his musical studies at Madrid's Royal Conservatory and won top honors in harmony and piano performance. He received a bachelor of music degree in piano and a master's degree in orchestra conducting from Oberlin College.
Said to be: technically proficient, particularly with large-scale works. Particularly fond of works by Spanish composers. Less interested in new works, mixed reviews on audience/musician rapport. Although it was Bragado Darman's own decision to leave Louisville after three years, some thought his tenure was relatively brief and that he wouldn't be greatly missed by the local music community. A review published at the time of Bragado Darman's concluding his last season earlier this year offered the opinion that the conductor "was an enigma for much of his time here." The Courier-Journal, which covers Louisville, had also quoted the head of the Louisville orchestra musician's committee as saying that although there was "no ground swell of [musician] dissatisfaction" with the conductor, his tenure with the symphony "apparently...didn't fit."
Other members of the music community have said there was some dissatisfaction over Bragado Darman's decision to maintain his home in Spain. But at least one member of the Louisville symphony board says Bragado Darman was "charming" "very, very likable" and "very, very versatile" in his choice of musical styles.
Watch/listen for: musical fireworks. If Bragado Darman is as fiery as some say, this program should give him ample opportunity to showcase that quality.
Bottom line: Technically proficient, but needs to show more dramatic performance than he has on previous occasions. And, even though search committee members say we don't need a resident conductor, do we really want one stationed half a world away?