Arts & Entertainment

Culture Watch: The Concerts Will Be Different

BY March 10, 2014


Ten months ago, lost in the controversial announcement of changing the name of her organization, and with it a bit of its identity, Artis—Naples CEO Kathleen van Bergen made other news. She named Russian conductor Andrey Boreyko as the permanent music director of the Naples Philharmonic to replace Jorge Mester. It represented the final piece of a two-year process of rebuilding an organization that many argued needed an overhaul.

Just as she had when she announced the hiring of Frank Verpoorten as The Baker Museum’s curator and director, van Bergen spoke of bringing on a highly talented artistic partner whose vision could allow her to focus on the overall health of the organization.

In the time since, Naples has gotten a few sparing glimpses of Boreyko, who is finishing a run as musical director at the Dusseldorf Symphony Orchestra. He’ll be leaving that position later this year, but will still keep working in Europe as music director of the National Symphony of Belgium.

In Naples, Boreyko has found the best situation possible. He’s already a vacation visitor to the area, and the orchestra offers him a launching pad for his other, lucrative guest conducting spots throughout the United States.

But more importantly, in Naples he finds an orchestra run by someone who is looking to embrace the outside- the-box thinking he has exhibited in previous stops.

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“You have to make coming to hear the orchestra a special event, something that can’t be imitated at home with hi-fi,” Boreyko says. Modern technology has allowed for sound reproduction that very nearly mimics the live concert hall setting. But it lacks the communal experience that one gets in a concert hall, he says.

More importantly, from his perspective, the live concert experience benefits from the musical director’s ability to blend works from a variety of artists into something new, the way a club DJ can alter your perspective of two songs played back to back.

“A good musical director can make you think about pieces you might have heard many times before in a whole new way,” Boreyko says. “I’m always trying to create something new from something old.”

He’s also not content relying solely on the music to speak to the masses, noting that while the world of entertainment has changed dramatically in just the past few years, going to an orchestra concert is essentially the same as it was 100 years ago. Other art forms and multimedia presentations can enhance the music, he says. This is where what Artis—Naples has to offer played a role in luring in the 56-year-old conductor. (It should be noted that 56 is practically a teenager in the classical conducting world.)

Van Bergen has made a great point about wanting to create seamless transitions between all parts of the organization. She brought in Verpoorten, who had worked in an integrated arts complex. Now, with Boreyko, she has a music director who wants to dissolve the boundaries between the orchestra and various other art forms.

“There are more modern ways to present the music,” he says. “It could be using screens and cameras. It could be combining other art forms, dance or painters. Perhaps someone can take the sounds and turn them into colors. There are so many possibilities to develop.”

These aren’t gimmicks. Boreyko doesn’t believe orchestral music is going to have the appeal of pop music. Nor does he want that.

“Classical music isn’t fast food,” he says. “It’s a style of life. We shouldn’t expect everyone to love it. But we want to open the doors and say to anyone, ‘If you do like it, come. If you don’t like it now, come try again in a few years.’”


Must-See of the Month: Spring Training

March in South Florida means one thing in the world of sports—spring training baseball. And Fort Myers is one of the best places to catch the action. The Boston Red Sox kick off an attempt to bring home backto- back World Series trophies at the beautiful JetBlue Park. Meanwhile, the Minnesota Twins will be showing off mega prospects Miguel Sano and Byron Buxton, both of whom played for the Fort Myers Miracle last season, at Hammond Stadium. Not a fan of either of those teams? No worries. The Yankees, Cardinals, Mets, Astros, Rays, Orioles, Braves, Pirates, Phillies, Blue Jays and Marlins all make stops at one or both stadiums this month.,


Editor’s Impassioned Plea

Go see Vince gill at Barbara B. Mann performing arts hall on March 20.

There are few people who can take a Beach Boys song and somehow make it more beautiful than the original. The same could be said about people taking a Guy Clark tune and somehow amping up the heartbreak. The number of people who can do both is an extremely limited group.

Actually, “group” is the wrong word. It’s really just Vince Gill. Perhaps because he’s spent the bulk of his career making country and gospel music, Gill doesn’t get his due as one of the great singers of the past 30 years. With a soaring tenor that can break into an angelic falsetto at just about any moment, Gill can slide effortlessly between the church and bluegrass music of his youth to the ’90s slow jam of I Still Believe in You to the country boogie of Liza Jane.

On tour with wife and fellow vocal polymath, Amy Grant, Gill is stopping in Fort Myers this month. And missing it would be to deprive yourself of seeing a truly great singer own the past 75 years of American music.


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