Guest Conducting in Mexico
Lloyd Butler, BM '00, resident artist, co-director of the musical theatre program and music director of the ONU Symphony Orchestra, was guest conductor for the Julian Carillos Symphony Orchestra and the San Luis Symphony Orchestra in Mexico in November.
Q. How did this exchange come about?
A. I first conducted the Julian Carillos Symphony Orchestra as part of a podium exchange with the maestro of that orchestra, Julio DeSantiago Castillo. Their maestro was invited to conduct Mexican works with the ONU Symphony Orchestra and I conducted American works with their orchestra. That event took place between February and March 2008. I continued to keep in good relations with the Maestro Julio DeSantiago Castillos, and he invited me to guest conduct their upcoming concert held on Nov. 7, 2009.
Q. What did the program involve?
A. The program included Beethoven’s “Symphony No. 8,” Manuel deFalla’s “Ritual Fire Dance,” Strauss’s “Egyptian March” and Pizzicato “Polka,” as well as John William’s arrangement of “Tango Por Una Cabeza" for solo violin and orchestra. The concert was held at the Museo Fedrico Silva sculpture museum.
Q. Please describe the Julian Carillos Orchestra.
A. The Julian Carillos Orchestra is one of the top preparatory orchestras training young musicians and preparing them for conservatory studies or professional engagements. The orchestra members range in age from 14-20 and are very dedicated young musicians, I found their training and dedication to be admirable and inspiring. I rehearsed with them daily since my arrival on Monday, Nov. 2, 2009. The concert was standing room and held such luminaries as the Secretary of Culture and representatives from the Governor’s office and the Department of Education. I was presented with a certificate of recognition from the Department of Education for my contributions to the training of Mexico’s young musicians.
Q. You were also guest conductor with a professional orchestra.
A. The San Luis Potosi Symphony Orchestra also extended an invitation to guest conduct their concerts that week, conducting Mendelssohn’s Symphony No. 5 “Reformation.” I had the opportunity to work with them daily in intense rehearsals beginning on Tuesday, Nov. 4, 2009. This professional orchestra simply was an outstanding ensemble, and the opportunity to conduct them may have been one of the highlights of my career. The orchestra’s quality could be compared to that of the esteemed Atlanta or St. Louis Symphony Orchestra. The concerts were held on Friday, Nov. 6, at 8 p.m. and Nov. 9 at 12:30 p.m. at the State Theatre. My rapport with the orchestra was evidenced by four encore bows following each performance.
Q. What did you gain from the experience?
A. Though it was an extensive schedule of rehearsals and performances, the opportunity was extremely rewarding for me. I am pleased that both orchestras have invited me to return next year and we are discussing further ways to incorporate cultural exchanges with Ohio Northern University and these fine organizations in San Luis Potosi.