« The baton is a large sum of wills ».
Alondra de la Parra. A leader in all her facets, the Mexican conductor takes the reins of the energetic Bremen German Chamber Philharmonic on a European tour that stops in Barcelona and Murcia, accompanied by the Stradivarius of the soloist María Dueñas.
Vibrant, strong and full of vitality, Alondra de la Parra (New York, 1980) asks first. « What if, » she suggests, « these were the first interview in my career in which I wasn’t asked about my status as a woman on the podium? » Then she muses, « I think that would be a pretty good sign, wouldn’t it? ». We accept the challenge, though her offer, like the silence, fades as it is being made. To sum up, let’s say that the Mexican director started out in the profession without female references, with that strange mixture of enthusiasm and doubts, which is nowadays designated as the impostor syndrome. « It was impossible not to feel intimidated by the great masters of the past; of course I had something in my favor… ». An ear, she later clarifies, immune to disenchantment and frustration. « I used to go with my parents to concerts and I could perceive all the nuances, the mistakes and the possibilities of that colossal instrument called orchestra ».
The documentary La Maestra, which Medici.tv dedicated to her in 2018, features some heroes of her childhood: Kurt Masur, Claudio Abbado, Simon Rattle, Daniel Barenboim, and many more. It tells how, after a very careful musical education in Mexico City, she moved to New York to study conducting with Kenneth Kiesler. And so on until one day, on the verge of her 20th birthday, Charles Dutoit invited her to conduct the Buenos Aires Philharmonic at the Teatro Colón. « There wasn’t a specific day and time when I officially became a conductor. It was all a slow process of assimilation and falling in love, of fascination for the work with musicians ».
Visual coefficient. Somewhere in her memory, she confesses, is tattooed one of Kiesler’s first pieces of advice. « He told me not to make the mistake of imitating anyone, and encouraged me to experiment with the freedom of my own language, that voice which opens through technique and imagination, and which requires a radical connection with the orchestra. Anything that doesn’t have to do with that essence creaks, is noticed. » That is why she sometimes seems to dance on the podium. « It’s what I call the visual coefficient of the music, » she reflects on the phone from London, during a break in a rehearsal of Romeo and Juliet. « Unlike a dancer, the conductor moves on three time axes simultaneously: he has to anticipate what is going to happen, to react to what is happening, and process what already belongs only to the acoustics of the room ». Or to put it another way: « More than dancing, it’s about feeling the music in every cell of your body ».