Scott Faulkner plays string base for both the Reno Philharmonic and the Reno Chamber Orchestra, which makes it appropriate that he is also the executive director of RCO. Last year, the RCO brought in one of the most recorded conductors in the world, Theodore Kuchar. Between Kuchar’s vigor and prominence in the orchestral world and Faulkner’s efforts over the past few years to make the orchestra better than ever, RCO offers a promising 2004-2005 season. For more information, visit www.renochamberorchestra.org.
What do you have going on this season that’s exciting and unique?
In a word, our soloists. … In January, we have a guest guitarist and conductor … his name is Angel Romero. He is one of the most famous classical guitarists in the world, from a very famous family of guitarists. He’s played solo performances for the Pope. … The other biggest name and the most unique thing in the season is our April 30 concert, which features Leonard Nimoy … We came up with a music piece that our conductor, Ted Kuchar, discovered by composer Vicktor Ullmann; [Ullmann] composed this piece while in a concentration camp—two months before he died in Auschwitz. The piece was for narrator and piano, and an arrangement has been made for narrator and chamber orchestra. Nimoy will be the narrator, and he’s narrating another piece by Beethoven called Egmont.
How much time goes into preparing for a performance?
We have four rehearsals together as an orchestra, each one is two and a half hours—and then the concert. But in reality, the music goes out to musicians a couple of weeks before that, so everyone practices and prepares the music individually before they go to rehearsal.
How do you attract the public to performances?
To start with, we have a great core audience. As of right now, we have 90 percent of our concert hall sold out for the entire year. We play in Nightingale Concert Hall at UNR, which is a very nice, intimate, 615-seat hall. Other ways we attract are through interviews like this.
Can chamber music be for everybody? For example, how do you get your teenage son who is into metal and punk music to listen to a chamber orchestra?
Coming to hear it at Nightingale Hall is the start. Ted Kuchar is one of the most energetic and engaging conductors I’ve ever played for or seen. When you go there, the energy is all around you, and it’s a very exciting kind of thing. It’s not as loud as a rock show, but I think a lot of people confuse volume with energy.
A lot of people think all orchestral music is classical. Is that true?
There’s a long answer that I would give to you if I were teaching music appreciation about the technical definitions of classical, but the short answer is that we play music that was written in the 1700s, and this year we’re playing a piece that was written in the 1970s, and the whole spectrum in between.
Explain the difference between a chamber orchestra and a philharmonic/symphony orchestra?
The two biggest differences are the size of the ensemble—the chamber orchestra is smaller and primarily what that means is a smaller string complement, fewer violins, violas, cellos and basses—then also the repertoire. The chamber orchestra existed before the big symphony orchestra. … The chamber orchestra, like ours, was the size orchestra that people like Bach and Mozart were writing for … One thing that I would like to point out is that Reno has two orchestras that are very well supported. It’s great to see a community, especially one this size, that can support two orchestras because usually you don’t find a chamber orchestra and a philharmonic in a city unless it’s a bigger city.