As the effects of the novel coronavirus COVID-19 ripple worldwide, it is not only hospitals, cruise lines and the stock market that are affected. This weekend’s Monterey Symphony concerts sent symphony executives scrambling to find a replacement for the scheduled (and highly anticipated) Italian guest conductor Oleg Caetani, who suddenly became unable to travel from his native, virus hot spot Milan. Luckily he’s still well, and fortunately a more than suitable substitution has been found from within the orchestra’s own ranks.
Brad Hogarth, who plays in the trumpet section of the orchestra, is also assistant professor of conducting at San Francisco State University. So he is no stranger to the baton and podium.
“It turns out that we have been brainstorming about perhaps creating an assistant conductor position for awhile now,” says Nicola Reilly, the symphony’s executive director. “Ironically we had our eye on Brad for a bit. He’s young, energetic, and we are excited to bring one of the orchestra’s own players to the podium.”
Hogarth is equally excited about standing in for this concert. “I’m thrilled to have the opportunity to be in a different place onstage than I usually occupy,” he says.
He says he loves both conducting and playing trumpet, but in different ways.
“Being in a brass section resonates through your entire physical body, and you have your ears singularly focused on the sound of your own section,” he says. “The podium is very different. You have to have your ears tuned to the entire orchestra – both micro and macro in order to navigate the work – and to facilitate communication musician to musician, and from orchestra to the listening community.”
The program features two massive symphonic works, which couldn’t be more different from one another. Hogarth agrees, but also finds similarity.
“Shostakovich was very close to the end of his life when he wrote his 15th symphony,” Hogarth says, “and Tchaikovsky’s third symphony foreshadows many of the devices and motifs he would use later in his career to write some of the most beloved works in the canon. So both pieces on this program show their composers in times of great transition.”
MONTEREY SYMPHONY’S OVATION CONCERT IV 8pm Saturday, March 14; 3pm Sunday, March 15. Sunset Center, San Carlos and Ninth, Carmel. $41-$82. 646-8511, montereysymphony.org