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How Robin Ticciati Found His Path to the Podium

Conductor Robin Ticciati

Conductors take different paths to the podium. WRTI’s Susan Lewis profiles one of today’s busy young conductors who learned from two of the best in the business.  

On Sunday, January 17th at 1 pm on WRTI, Robin Ticciati leads The Philadelphia Orchestra in a program featuring the music of Schumann and Mozart.  

Radio Script: 

MUSIC: Schumann

Susan Lewis:  While his formal training was in violin, piano and percussion;  as a conductor, Robin Ticciati has  had two important mentors. One, the late Colin Davis, whose last position was at the London Symphony Orchestra – and from whom he learned about music and life.

Robin Ticciati: Cutting up ginger and garlic with a glass of red wine and pasta, he would take out King Lear, and start to read me some of Cordelia's most beautiful lines…It was about working out what it is to be alive...Why on earth you stand up there. And of course that’s framed with a million and one technical details about breath, and stick technique and control. But he gave me another perspective about how to think.

SL: His other mentor? Simon Rattle, who’s now principal conductor of the Berlin Philharmonic, and will become music director of the London Symphony Orchestra in 2017. Ticciati’s lessons from Rattle? 

RT: It's not enough to read Cordelia. You also have to read Berlioz's treatise on orchestration, what Mozart said about bow technique, letters between Robert and Clara Schumann. It’s about everything as a conductor and that’s why it takes a lifetime.

SL: Ticciati says music is a responsibility.

RT: People come and listen. You might touch them for five minutes or you might change their lives forever.

SL:  Ticciati’s recent recordings include Symphonies by Haydn and Dvorak, as well as the complete symphonies of Schumann.

Conductor Robin Ticciati talks with WRTI's Susan Lewis about the lessons he learned from his two mentors, Colin Davis and Simon Rattle.

Susan writes and produces stories about music and the arts. She’s host and producer of WRTI’s TIME IN online interview series, and contributes weekly intermission interviews for The Philadelphia Orchestra in Concert series. She’s also been a regular host of WRTI’s Live from the Performance Studio sessions.