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Another whiz kid conductor

March 18, 2010 |  5:03 am


So why exactly has 26-year-old British conductor Robin Ticciati been compared to Los Angeles Philharmonic music director Gustavo Dudamel?  Uh, they’re both young, accomplished …  and, well, they both have those flowing locks of brown hair. 
A known quantity helps make the unfamiliar familiar -- even when the judgment is premature or the comparison is a little askew.   For sure, here on the West Coast, Ticciati is an unknown.  That can all change this weekend when he leads the Los Angeles Philharmonic in a series of three concerts Thursday through Saturday.  The program’s two main attractions are the Grieg Piano Concerto with soloist Lars Vogt and that most English of symphonic works, Elgar’s “Enigma Variations.” (Last weekend, Ticciati conducted the same program in Toronto.  Here’s the review from the Toronto Star.)
I remain intrigued by how the music world likes to attach labels to its artists.  Especially in this country, classical music conductors have often been pigeonholed as operatic, symphonic or chamber orchestra conductors.  (Judging by his career, Ticciati appears to excel in all three.)  And when two musicians share the same nationality or teacher, we make instant associations.  (Don’t let Ticciati’s Italian surname fool you.  He’s British, born and bred.)
The Los Angeles Philharmonic has had a long history of taking chances on young conductors.  When I spoke to Ticciati, he saw that trend taking hold elsewhere.  “Rather than saying there’s a wave of young conductors, another way of looking at it is that orchestral musicians and the public are more open to seeing younger people on the podium,” said Ticciati.  “The time of the dictator is over.”
 To read my profile of the up-and-coming Ticciati, click here.

-- Mathew Erikson

Photo credit: Bob Chamberlin / Los Angeles Times