The Blog

29 Jun 2010

Q & A with Keith Lockhart

Want to know more about Boston Pops Conductor Keith Lockhart?

Keith Lockhart became the twentieth conductor of the Boston Pops in 1995, adding his artistic vision to the Pops tradition established by his predecessors John Williams and Arthur Fiedler. During his 15-year tenure, he has conducted the Boston Pops in more than 1,200 concerts and introduced the innovative JazzFest and EdgeFest series, which feature the Pops performing with some of today’s most prominent contemporary artists. His favorite event is the annual Boston Pops Fireworks Spectacular! Keith Lockhart answers our questions:

Q: What goes through your mind 5 minutes before you take the stage on the 4th in front of such a large crowd at the Esplanade and an even bigger crowd watching on television?
A: On the 4th, before and during the performance, my mind is a continual checklist...what happens next? What do I have to say? Where do I have to go on stage? What happens if it rains?

Q: What is your typical day like?
A: One of the best things about my job is that it doesn't come with any typical days! During the spring Pops season, leading up to the Fourth, there are concerts most nights, and rehearsing, studying the next project, meeting with my staff, and a little bit of sleep fill up the rest. Oh, and with a 3-month old, a bit more diaper changing than usual....

Q: What piece of music have you heard over and over but still enjoy today?
A: "America, the Beautiful." It's our most moving patriotic song, and it gets me every time.

Q: What is currently playing on your iPod?
A: Toby Keith.

Q: If you were not a conductor, what would your occupation be?
A: I would be an author, hard at work on the Great American Novel. Maybe there's still time....

Q: What is your favorite hotspot in Boston?
A: Fenway Park.

Q: Who are your personal mentors?
A: Many. One in particular, though, was Erich Kunzel...the conductor, who up until last year, was at the center of the "other" big July 4th celebration, on the Mall in Washington, DC. Erich died last fall, and I owe him a lot...if it hadn't been for the opportunities he gave me, I probably wouldn't be conducting "America's Orchestra." This one's for you, Erich!

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