LIMA — The Lima Symphony Orchestra’s fifth conductor finalist Andrew Crust may not be familiar with Lima yet, but he is interested in being part of a place where he says classical music is rising.
“To be honest, I didn’t know much about the specific community (when I saw the opening),” Crust said.”I obviously did my research and consulted some friends who have played in the area. In all of Ohio, there are a number of fantastic regional orchestras playing at a very high level. Classical music is rising in Ohio in general, and I wanted to be more plugged into that.”
In his research, Crust said the biggest thing he noticed about LSO is its commitment to educational programming.
“Every orchestra does educational programs, of course we all believe that’s important, but the Lima Symphony has gone above and beyond in terms of offering and creating meaningful, homegrown projects,” he said. “People on the staff care about education, which means they care about the product, which is classical music and that it can change lives, especially young lives.”
Having served as the assistant conductor of the National Youth Orchestra of the USA, Crust called education “the most important thing we can do as any kind of arts organization.”
“It’s not only about getting future ticket buyers, but it’s about really the purpose of art in our society — making better humans, building connections between cultures, remembering history and becoming better communicators,” he explained. “It’s a kind of service a symphony should offer, an educational service for the whole community whether its a masterworks concert or kids concert. Masterworks is still an education for the public. It will also entertain, but there can be more value than just entertainment, that’s what’s most important.”
Programming is Crust’s favorite aspect of conducting, he said, but in terms of what programming he could bring to Lima, he isn’t quite sure yet.
“You don’t (create a program) from an island, you do it by speaking to everyone in the community, staff and the musicians. You wouldn’t get a full picture until my second season because that gives me the chance to get to know everyone — what they want to hear and what they don’t yet know they’re going to love,” he said. “From the get-go, it seems to be a community that appreciates art — they like the classics but like adventurous programming.”
Though Crust appreciates the work of composer greats like Sergei Rachmaninoff and Igor Stravinsky, both of which will be featured in his program “Mad Love,” he also enjoys emphasizing contemporary and more unknown works.
“My programs often include broad strokes — a healthy dose of dead white guys, a healthy dose of masterpieces that will always be good, but also being very aware of the rising stars, those living composers and composers perhaps of ethnic or gender minorities,” he explained. “I give people what they want, but build up over time that contemporary music. That takes trust and happens over years, but I’m sure the Lima audience is up for it. I have some interesting gems that I could present.”
“Mad Love” will include Rachmaninoff’s “Concerto No. 2,” Wojciech Kilar’s “Orawa” and Stravinsky’s “Firebird Suite.”
Reach Tara Jones at 567-242-0511.