“Kensho Watanabe can barely fathom the turn of events that found him on stage leading the Philadelphia Orchestra last weekend—with three hours’ notice,” writes David Patrick Stearns in Tuesday’s (4/11) Philadelphia Inquirer. “Watanabe was notified at 5 p.m. Saturday that music director Yannick Nézet-Séguin had come down with a virus and could not conduct the 8 p.m. program at the Kimmel Center…. He knew the players personally, having played in the orchestra as a substitute violinist, and, later, having passed the audition that landed him the assistant conductor position in fall 2016…. As assistant, Watanabe had attended all of Nézet-Séguin’s rehearsals and had learned the pieces. By several accounts, his concert debut with the orchestra was better than good. In fact, the hall was reportedly electric. ‘He was really poised … to just drop in and be cool as a cucumber … that’s really special,’ said composer Mason Bates, who was on stage Saturday running the electronics for his piece Alternative Energy…. His Philadelphia Orchestra debut was meant to be a children’s concert on April 22, which is still happening.” Included is a Q&A in which Watanabe discusses Saturday’s concert, his training as a violinist, and his non-musical pursuits.
Posted April 13, 2017
Kensho Watanabe photo by Andrew Bogard