This fall, conductor Nathalie Stutzmann officially assumes the position of Music Director of the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra. The renowned French conductor, contralto and multi-instrumentalist worked for the first time with the ASO as guest conductor in 2020. Her move to musical direction this year marks a new chapter for the orchestra under the direction of of his very first female conductor. Stutzmann joined “City Lights” host Lois Reitzes via Zoom to talk about her upcoming 2022-23 music season with the ASO.
Last weekend, Reitzes watched the ASO perform under Stutzmann and noticed the passionate outpouring of enthusiasm from the audience. Stutzmann replied, “I was so moved and, I must say, almost in tears when I came on stage…Before I did anything, the whole audience stood up and just waved at me, like , for a minute, with only love.
Stutzmann’s first week as the new Official Music Director represents, for her, an essential introduction of her musical sensibility to ASO followers. “So I wanted to have a week that showed very clearly the directions of my passions and my work,” Stutzmann said. “And I couldn’t imagine that week, after all, what we all survived together, without performing Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony, which is really the work of friendship, which brings people together, after having separated and distant from each other for so long. It was very symbolic. »
Such a grand overture draws the most powerful talents from all sections of the orchestra into a much-loved piece. But Stutzmann has lesser-known works on the menu, which will introduce classical music lovers to contemporary artists; in some cases, work never before performed by the ASO. These include George Walker’s “Lilacs” and a choral symphony, “Words for Departure,” which Stutzmann commissioned from composer Hillary Purrington when Stutzmann conducted the Philadelphia Orchestra in 2020.
With music, Stutzmann believes that an orchestra sets out to tell a story, and she aims to achieve this on many levels. “I really believe…we have to be storytellers because every human being needs to tell stories,” Stutzmann said. “What do you do when your child is nervous and you want him to feel relaxed and go to bed? Just telling a story… Music is also telling stories. So I approach it through the music, of course, as a priority, but behind the composers’ notes, there is the narration – what feeling is there, what emotion, what was going on.
Her first season performance of Schoenberg’s “Verklärte Nacht” will be accompanied by lush visual projections, supporting a rich musical love story. “The program is built around love in different aspects, clearly depicting his passion for Clara Schumann, which he never really got to realize, but who has been such an inspiration to his music over the years,” said said Stutzmann.
To learn more about the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra‘s upcoming 2022/23 musical season under conductor Nathalie Stutzmann, visit www.aso.org/announcements/2022-23-classical- season.