The Front Row: Donato Cabrera and Galen Wixson

Nov 10, 2017

The Lubbock Symphony Orchestra presents concerts this weekend at the Civic Center. Joining the Front Row on this episode to talk about the upcoming performances is Galen Wixson, Director of the LSO and guest conductor, Donato Cabrera.

Donato Cabrera, tell us about yourself.

Well, I was one of those folks who had this crazy notion that I wanted to be a conductor when I was quite young. I was 15 in high school, in Moreno, NV. I became obsessed with classical music a couple of years before that and the idea of how was it that every recording of Beethoven’s Symphony number 5 sounded a little different and this idea that a conductor could have such an impact on a piece of music like the Beethoven Symphony.

Also at the same time I was very much influenced in a wonderful way by my high school band director who to this day I consider one of the greatest educators and one of the greatest conductors I have ever seen. So that was the beginning of the interest in my conducting. It was really through teaching and through the discovery of recordings of classical music and some performances by the local orchestra and the opera company.

I then left and headed east. My first stop was at the University of Illinois, where I got my Master’s and then onto Manhattan School of Music in New York City where I got a performers certificate in conducting. Then I had kind of a series of fortunate events that happened that lead me to audition for the San Francisco opera where I was the resident conductor for three years…

For people who don’t know pictures of an exhibition, walk us through this a little bit.

This is a musical depiction of ten painting by a friend of Musorgsky, Victor Hartman. Hartman tragically died at quite a young age, 39, and another friend of theirs, in this circle of folks, this art critic and music critic, he created an exhibition of over 400 paintings and sketches of Hartman’s works at the Art Academy in St. Petersburg.

Musorgsky decided to also write in memoriam of his friendship with Hartman, a piece that depicted this exhibit of this wonderful friend. So there are 10 pictures that one visits along the way…of course the final painting is the “Great Gate of Kiev.”

…Musically it’s a one-of-a-kind piece and what it’s trying to represent is also, it’s unparalleled.

Listen to the full interview at the top of the article.