Music is as powerful as ever and can really speak to people today. I think that people’s assumptions and expectations of orchestras are based on the old model, in which there was a huge differential in power between the music director and the musicians. It was up to the music director to be this messianic, charismatic figure. The role of the musicians was more subservient—just doing their job, like good soldiers.
I think the musicians have to take more of an active role and more responsibility. They can’t rely entirely on the conductor for the message. They have to advocate for themselves and for the music itself, to support the message of the conductor in a new way. I think I’ve been misunderstood by some people, because I really expect the musicians to meet me halfway.