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The BSO Debuts of Ferrández and Hindoyan

A collage of Pablo Ferrández and Domingo Hindoyan. Ferrández (right) stands against a gold background in a black turtleneck. He looks at the camera and poses with his arm around his cello. He has short black hair and a beard. Hindoyan (right) stands outside wearing a black pea coat with the collar popped. He has wavy black hair and stubble, and he smiles to the left of frame.
Kristian Schuller: Ferrández; Victor Santiago: Hindoyan
Cellist Pablo Ferrández; conductor Domingo Hindoyan

Saturday, March 30, 2024

Encore broadcast on Monday, April 8

Venezuelan conductor Domingo Hindoyan makes his BSO debut leading the American premiere of the BSO co-commissioned Symphony No. 6 by Puerto Rican composer Roberto Sierra. Also making his BSO debut is Spanish cellist Pablo Ferrández in Edward Elgar’s regal and impassioned Cello Concerto, often interpreted as a profound reaction to the First World War. One of the repertoire’s greatest symphonies, Czech composer Antonín Dvořák’s darkly majestic Seventh, exudes his love for his native Bohemia as well as the influence of his mentor, Johannes Brahms.

Domingo Hindoyan, conductor
Pablo Ferrández, cello

Roberto SIERRA Symphony No. 6 (American premiere; BSO co-commission)
Edward ELGAR Cello Concerto
Antonín DVOŘÁK Symphony No. 7

This concert is no longer available on demand.

Kendall Todd spoke with Domingo Hindoyan about his personal relationship with Roberto Sierra's music, what makes Dvořák's Seventh Symphony so special, and sharing a BSO debut with Pablo Ferrández. Follow along with the audio player above and the transcript below.


Kendall Todd I'm Kendall Todd here at Symphony Hall with Domingo Hindoyan, who is here at Symphony Hall with the Boston Symphony for the first time. Thank you so much for your time today.

Domingo Hindoyan Thank you very much for the invitation.

Kendall Todd I was just sitting in on the rehearsal of the Elgar, which sounds terrific, by the way. And I was hoping you could tell me how this program came together. I imagine it probably started with the Sierra, is that right?

Domingo Hindoyan Exactly. There was this commission of the Sierra Symphony together with the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic and the National Radio of Poland and the Boston Symphony, of course. Then from that we built everything else. Then we went to couple it with a brilliant symphony. Then we found Dvořák's Seventh [Symphony], and then the [Elgar Cello] concerto is, you know, built upon the choice of the soloist, what he would like to play, what the orchestra needs in the season. And then we found that the Elgar could be a good, a very good match to the whole program overall.

Kendall Todd Mmhm. The Sierra is a piece that you know very well. You premiered it. You also have recorded it. What is your relationship with Roberto Sierra? How did that all begin?

Domingo Hindoyan I very first met Roberto Sierra when I conducted his Trumpet Concerto back in 2020, the very beginning of 2020. A fantastic Trumpet Concerto. Then, I really like his music, I really like the way he writes, the way we can rehearse it and prepare it, which is very deep in content, in musical content and information, but at the same time, very clear and very, very, let's say, not easy because it's not the right word, but very, gentle to play. It's very direct. Exactly, that's the right word. Since then, I have conducted him very much, all of his pieces. I even recorded a tribute, you know, only one recorded CD only for him of his pieces. And this symphony especially, he wrote it for my opening concert when I started my tenure in Liverpool. And I did the Beethoven Sixth [Symphony] and Beethoven Ninth [Symphony] together. Since his Sixth Symphony, I asked him to to copy, in some sense, Beethoven, and do a pastoral. But of course, a pastoral Caribbean. So then in the symphony, we find all these Latin American and Caribbean colors. The South American cities, the beautiful Caribbean warm nights. And we found the hurricane, of course, that the Caribbean is every season with, and then the finale, we find some of the beautiful dancers of those countries Puerto Rico, Dominican Republic, Venezuela, Colombia, and so on, like the salsa, for instance. So that's [what] the symphony [is] about. It's all these colors we found in those countries with his absolutely unique signature.

Kendall Todd How would you describe his musical signature?

Domingo Hindoyan Well, his musical signature is exactly his content: rhythmical elements that are present all around, a very clear and direct way of writing music and very effective. The melodies—he has a big talent for tunes. And, the slow movements are fantastically beautiful and he's really a big master. I really, I admire him very much, and I like to conduct him a lot.

Kendall Todd What are some things that you hope the audience hears in this piece?

Domingo Hindoyan The audience should really—it's always very interesting when it's a premiere, a commission. Is this the feeling the audience will have? I think they should really enjoy all the colors and try to make a little journey through very warm weather, including warm rain. And then just let yourself go with those colors during the fourth movement that are totally one different from the other.

Kendall Todd Warm weather is definitely something we appreciate in Boston. [Todd and Hindoyan chuckle] When it comes to your job as conductor, when you have a program that is part very new music and part music that the orchestra has played before and knows very well, how does your approach to conducting those sort of two dynamics change?

Domingo Hindoyan When you come to an orchestra like the Boston Symphony with such a big tradition, a big history behind, and such a high level, and you come with a known piece like in this case Dvořák's Seven, I honestly try not to think too much about it. I just have my concept, what I would like to achieve, based on all my research and my analysis and my temperament as well, of course. And then I just try to communicate as natural as possible with the orchestra and with any orchestra. They play fantastically well. They don't need to be taught anything, you know, they just need to be guided and to make music together. And this is what I really try to do, is just to be part of the orchestra for one week and make music with them. And if I have a good idea, I will introduce it, of course. And I will try to convince them to go with my idea. But at the same time, there is such a big tradition that if they propose something, they suggest something just by playing, and I say, "Wow, such a nice moment. Such a nice sound." I will never touch it unless it really goes against my concept, which is not the case.

Kendall Todd That's great. Let's talk about Dvořák. What is it about Dvořák's Seven that made you want to do it in this program?

Domingo Hindoyan Dvořák's Seven is a very special symphony for me because I like Dvořák in general. I just did the Rusalka a few months ago, and Dvořák's Seventh, Eighth, and Ninth are very special. But the Seventh is, for me, very touching in the sense that he really wanted to go and approach as much as possible the German style in composition. He really wanted to have this broad sound. He really wanted to get into the structure of Brahms. He wanted the colors of Brahms. He wanted the structure of Beethoven. He wanted the articulations and the dancing. But—he succeeded very well, it's fantastically a well written symphony—but always, we find this Slavic perfume, I want to call it, in his writing. In comparing to the Symphony No. 8 and 9, the No. 7 is a little bit more dark, a little bit more sober in color. And... there is more suffering on it. And that's what I like. And especially, one of the big highlights is absolutely the Scherzo. He was, of course, very famous for the Slavonic Dances, and he was so talented for dances. And the Scherzo has a special place in his catalog. I think the symphonies are special for him because of this darkness he tries to achieve being a composer that is so talented for tunes and talented for dances and has this Slavic talent. This approach to German repertoire and these dark colors he finds in the symphony is quite special for him. And I think the Scherzo again, the third movement, I think it's really brilliant, I think is one of his most beautiful Scherzo in the whole symphony repertoire from him.

Kendall Todd I'd like to ask you about Elgar as well. What drew you to the Elgar Cello Concerto?

Domingo Hindoyan The Elgar Cello Concerto is... is a concerto that, compared to other concertos of the repertoire, like Dvořák himself, the Elgar is not virtuosic. Cello writing is more internal, more contemplative, dreamy. It is sensitive, and the concerto all around—except the second movement that is very fast and brilliant and spicy, let's call it—but the whole concerto is really touching and deep. And that is beautiful in the whole program overall, because we have the Sierra, which is brilliant and sharp and sometimes loud and beautifully virtuoso. And then we have the Elgar to contrast it. And I think it's a beautiful contrast together with the Dvořák.

Kendall Todd This is not your first time working together with Pablo Ferrández, is it?

Domingo Hindoyan No, we have worked together exactly with the Dvořák [Cello] Concerto. Not a long time ago, I think... the beginning of the season.

Kendall Todd What is it about his playing that makes the Elgar—or just in general, what makes it sparkle?

Domingo Hindoyan Well he's just a fantastic player. He's somebody who uses his enormous and unbelievable talent to serve the music. It's only about the music, it's every phrase, every note. And you feel that it's not any more himself. It's just—he's just there to serve every note of the composer and is very easy to accompany because he's a great musician. And we understand each other very well. I'm very happy to be debuting the Boston Symphony with him.

Kendall Todd Domingo Hindoyan, thank you so much for your time today. I really appreciate it.

Domingo Hindoyan Thank you. Thank you very much.