LIMA — Conductor Steven Jarvi will vie for the seat to lead the Lima Symphony Orchestra with Sunday’s annual family concert, “A Pirate’s Life for Me.”
The season wasn’t laid out by the preference of each conductor, but Jarvi said he is happy with being placed in this program.
“It just shook out that way. Often times, in a process like this you think ‘Oh no, I’m not doing one of the big classical concerts,’ but I’m actually thrilled to be doing the family concert because it’s one of my strong suits,” he explained.
Throughout his career, Jarvi has worked with several youth orchestras and produced countless children’s programs. He has developed his own concert series, “A Journey into Sound,” which includes 12 concerts pre-packaged and a pirate-themed program he will be bringing to Lima.
With all of his concerts, Jarvi said he wants to create an all-immersive experience for concert-goers that spans “from driveway to driveway.”
“I’m really interested in new music and how music in different ways can touch the very basic things we have,” he said. “If you can pull up to the concert hall and take pictures with someone in the lobby, walk into the hall that’s transformed into a theme, that’s way more fun than just the standard wandering around in tuxedos. It’s a more casual concert experience, but in that experience, we don’t necessarily need to rethink the quality of the music, but the quality of the musical experience and the way we experience it.”
However, that experience goes well beyond children for Jarvi. He said he believes we are in a “life or death” situation for classical music, so it is important to make it more accessible while maintaining its sophistication.
“For classical music, how I approach it is to enhance the concert experience without diminishing the music,” he said. “If we don’t loosen the top for the people, no one will open the can. We have to go out and actively educate and invite the community to be a part of what we’re doing and demystify that it doesn’t have to be fancy, it’s beautiful.”
His “A Pirate’s Life for Me” program emphasizes that point, blending songs from “Pirates of the Caribbean” with familiar sea tunes “La Mer” by Claude Debussy and “Sea Songs” by Ralph Vaughan Williams.
Born in Michigan, Jarvi recently returned to his home state now that he has a family and wants to really sink into a community where he can make an impact musically and in the arts.
“Here in Dearborn with the symphony, I’ve focused on how that orchestra directly affects its community and surrounding areas. For Lima, it’s the exact same thing. I want to make an impact … music happens at home close to us in the community and I think that’s most essential. That’s the way I got into music coming from a small town, and I want to use the opportunity to use my highly personable and down-to-earth skillset to spread as much musical love as I can.”
Reach Tara Jones at 567-242-0511.