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Conductor George Hanson has led
nearly 100 orchestras and operas,
including the New York Philharmonic.
He has shared the stage with such extraordinary performers
as Yo-Yo Ma and Tony Bennett.
Recently, Hanson brought his talents
to the region as a finalist
in the Fargo-Moorhead Symphony Orchestra's conductor search.
(George) As someone who grew up here,
I treasure my experiences here,
I think that the experiences I had
and the people who inspired me
and influenced me are the ingredients
that injected themselves into my development, my dreams.
I went out and accomplished many of those things.
Some of them I honestly didn't think
that I'd ever be able to do them.
I mean, conducting Carnegie Hall,
conduct the New York Philharmonic,
conduct opera in Berlin, in Vienna
and to spend much of my creative life in Europe
at the heart of where we think about where classical music,
as we know it, really formed itself.
[applause & cheers]
When I saw an opportunity to come back here,
I viewed it as a real chance
for me to take everything
that I had learned, and just share it.
[George sings the melody]
Just try the violins right there.
This is after that little fermata, the alegremente.
I was born in Iowa City, moved to Milwaukee,
and then when my father took the band job with Concordia in 1967,
it was with the stipulation
that he be allowed to start an orchestra.
I was at Moorhead High School;
I had been persuading my parents for years
that it was okay that I was only practicing the piano
an hour an day because I was going to become a doctor.
Let's play it right at the beginning.
[establishes the rhythm] ¦ Yum pa-pa-pum pa-pa-pum pum ¦
Here is a 1, 2, 3.
I remember when I came home as a senior and told my parents
that I was going to become a music major at Concordia,
they just kind of slumped down in their chairs
and were rather saddened by that.
I devoted myself for the next several years to the piano
and spent many hours every day, trying to make up for
what should have been a devotion in the teenage years
that I didn't really put forth.
I came home one night after, I don't know,
3, 4 hours of practicing, 10:00 at night,
I put on a recording without really looking at it.
It turned out it was Mahler's First Symphony.
And by the end of the first movement,
I had decided that's what I was going to do.
I would become a conductor.
Here is 1, 2.
I truly have been enriched by my experiences.
Everywhere I went, I learned from orchestras,
and that's, that's the key thing.
It's not conductors going around telling people how to do things.
It's definitely a 2-way street.
And I have to say it's been the same this week here.
I'm learning from the musicians, and I'm really thrilled
with how this orchestra has developed over the years.
I am truly impressed with these musicians.
They are truly dedicated and want to work very hard.
And we have been-- we've worked extremely hard.
They have shown me some extraordinary musicianship,
and this, to me I see as an enormous opportunity.
First, Fargo-Moorhead has this tremendous asset
in terms of this organization.
It's solidly supported; the board works very hard;
they have a wonderful staff,
and these musicians are truly devoted to their craft.
I'm grateful that Fargo-Moorhead has continued to decide
to support an organization like the FM Symphony,
of which you can be very, very proud.
After I knew that I would be coming here,
they asked if I would submit
several programs based on potential soloists.
I drew up a German program,
since that's where most of my second upbringing has been
in Vienna and in Germany, especially in the opera house.
I did a program that featured some American music
and I did a Russian program.
Each one could sort of stand on its own,
but I also wanted to give everyone an idea
of how I might be thinking about an entire season as well.
You have to look at the program and say
all right, we need a piece on there
that everybody's going to be comfortable with
and is going to say, I love that piece.
I'm going to go to that concert to hear that piece.
And it might also be the soloist.
I don't see any reason not to have
at least one work on the program that's unusual.
We have a balance in this program where hopefully,
a potential listener will come, see one piece on the program
where he says, oh, I love that piece.
So he comes with one favorite work
and he'll leave with 2 or maybe even 3.
That's the ideal formula, in my view,
of how to build a single program.
The Fargo-Moorhead Symphony is
searching for its next music director.
This season, our Masterworks Concerts
will each be led by one of the 5 finalists.
The decision of who will be the next artistic leader
will involve valuable input from the orchestra musicians,
audience members, symphony supporters, students,
and members of the community, including you.
The countdown begins.
Who will be the Fargo-Moorhead Symphony's next conductor?