Music as “medicine” in Stefan Lano’s return to the Uruguayan Symphony

Photograph dated February 23, 2021 of the American Stefan Lano who assumes as the new director of the National Symphony Orchestra of Uruguay. EFE / Alejandro Prieto

Montevideo, Mar 3 (EFE) .- Happy to return to a Montevideo that, he says, “does not seem sick like Berlin, Weimar or Madrid”, the American Stefan Lano takes the baton of the National Symphony Orchestra of Uruguay with a new challenge: make his music the “medicine” that people need today more than ever.
This is expressed during an interview with Efe by the teacher and composer from Massachusetts, who after a period of intense work in Europe returns to Uruguay, where he already conducted the National Symphony (Ossodre) between 2012 and 2015.
Frankly, Lano says he is “very happy” to leave the European winter and return to the Southern Cone, where he lived for several years, after resigning as principal conductor of the Deutsche Nationaltheater und Staatskapelle Weimar (Weimar State Orchestra) because, he points out, in Germany do “interpretive things” with operas that it cannot tolerate.
In turn, he notes that, unlike what happens in the Germanic metropolises or in cities of Spain and France, where confinement is strict and therefore “they are not touching anything”, the Uruguayan capital presents an environment conducive to doing concerts.
“The city does not seem sick like Berlin, Weimar or Madrid (…) Montevideo is fine, now we are starting with something big and it seems like a good idea to show some optimism from Sodre”, says Lano, who praises in turn good management of the pandemic in the South American country.
The American, who completed his first stage in the direction of the Ossodre due to differences with other directors of the Official Service of Diffusion, Representations and Shows of the country (Sodre) at that time, like the dancer and choreographer Julio Bocca, says he prefers not to look back and focuses on future plans.
However, on this level, Lano recognizes that there is a great challenge ahead that comes from the hand of doing shows in times of pandemic and that is having to comply with the health protocols of distance between components and lower capacity for the integration of the orchestra.
For Lano, who does not hide his reservations about whether these precautions are really effective but says he complies with them “out of respect for other people”, the provisions that lead to having 48 musicians instead of 92 serve, however, to intensify the work .
“It is very healthy for the strings because they have to put a little more weight and intention, in their way of playing; so in every crisis there are opportunities, as the Chinese say, and we are taking advantage of the pandemic to improve other aspects of the orchestra “, he emphasizes.
According to the teacher, who conducted at the Vienna State Opera, the Montreal Symphony Orchestra and the Reina Sofía School of Music in Madrid, among others, music is today more than ever “a medicine” that, he notes, unlike the Incessant media content is “healthy for the soul.”
“The music I make has a permanence that I think the people need right now,” Lano points out, adding that for him in a constantly changing world this artistic discipline is “the only permanent one”.
In this sense, the composer and director, who started the 2021 season of the Ossodre with the Symphony No. 2 in C minor by the Austrian composer Anton Bruckner last weekend, assures that during this new stage he will try to maintain the artistic level of the orchestra so that people do not lose the habit of going to the theater.
To which he also expresses his concern for young musicians who start playing after years of preparation and no longer find employment due to the stoppage of the pandemic, Lano emphasizes that the world “is going to need music more than ever” and details his plans to an annual program that he defines as “mozartian”.
“I’m going to do a lot (Wolfgang Amadeus) Mozart, who is also very healthy for the orchestra and by (Igor) Stravinsky there are various works for smaller orchestras, so in that sense we are not reducing, we are presenting scores in their original form”, The composer and pianist stands out, who this March 6 continues with a tribute concert to Astor Piazzolla.
On the other hand, as Sodre highlights on its official site, the Ossodre will celebrate its 90th anniversary in 2021 with a concert that replicates the repertoire of its first official show of 1931 on June 20.
Alejandro Prieto

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