Gerard Schwarz is an exemplary musician. He was a hotshot trumpeter — one of the best in the world. Then he became a leading conductor. For many years, he led the Seattle Symphony, and also the Mostly Mozart Festival in New York. He has led other institutions too. Now he is going to the Palm Beach Symphony. I joke that this is a “hardship post.”
In addition to being a superb player and conductor, he is an outstanding — really good — talker about music, and teacher of music. There is more than a little Bernstein in him. (He knew the late maestro and played under him in the New York Philharmonic.)
(He also played under Leopold Stokowski in the American Symphony Orchestra. Both of us thought of Stoki this week because Gloria Vanderbilt died, at 95. The two of them were married once. He was born in 1882, by the way.)
I have done a Q&A with Maestro Schwarz, here. We cover the waterfront, or a good stretch of it: his growing up; his attraction to the trumpet; his transition to conducting; his views on composers, performers, recordings, the future of music, and so on.
I think of him as an ambassador for music. I know you have to be an ambassador from or to something. But Jerry Schwarz is, let us say, a spokesman for music, and a champion of it. And a representative of it. He’s a total delight, too. Enjoy an hour with him (again, here). The volume is soft, unfortunately, owing to a technological glitch. But, if you can listen with headphones or what have you, the maestro is well worth it.