The specialized art of conducting ballet

Posted on: January 22, 2015

In Tuesday’s (1/20) Star-Ledger (Newark, N.J.), Ronni Reich profiles American-born, Russian-trained conductor Gavriel Heine (pictured left), who is in New York this week conducting the Mariinsky Orchestra and Ballet in Swan Lake at the Brooklyn Academy of Music. Heine’s “big break” came when Valery Gergiev, the Mariinsky’s artistic director, “visited Philadelphia on tour.…  Heine walked up to the conducting giant and simply asked: were there any positions open at the Mariinsky? After weeks of talks, Heine got his tryout, leading ‘The Marriage of Figaro.’ A staff position followed in 2007. During the past few years, he has immersed himself in one of the house’s great traditions, which he will take on at BAM: The ballet. ‘You have to know the text,’ Heine says. ‘When I say the text, I mean their steps. You have to know where the accents are, where it comes together with the music … and how.’ … Before he knew dance terminology, Heine used to draw stick figures all over his scores: pirouette here, arabesque there, landing from a leap on this note.” Heine serves on the conducting roster of the Mariinsky Theatre, based in St. Petersburg, Russia, and is also music director of Minnesota’s Northern Lights Festival Opera. In 2013, he was a participant in the League of American Orchestras’ Bruno Walter National Conducting Preview.

Posted January 22, 2015

Photo of Gavriel Heine by Alex Remnick