tv Charlie Rose Bloomberg September 9, 2015 6:00pm-7:01pm EDT
>> from our studios in new york city, this is "charlie rose." ♪ conductor world-class who is been a general direction mariinsky theatre of the since 1996. in 1998 became the director. conductorressed with doctor of the london symphony orchestra. in 2000, he had a vision for a new opera house which after several technical setbacks opened on his 60th birthday. it stands along the marines he
better is one of the largest -- mariinsky theatre is one of the largest in the world. it is the central hub of all things mariinsky. i visited aware valery gergiev -- where valery gergiev gave me a tour. let's start with you came to the mariinsky theatre because you were in your 20's. what was your first job? valery gergiev: assistant conductor. i was asked to assist. peace.s war and another great composer. which wasproduction shown and we went to new york and i came back 20 times. in new york city at the met, a great opera.
a grand scale in any country in the world. -- a french composer and a russian composer. the beginning was not my choice. tos is what you are going first cover the conduct your own performance. i am very grateful. boss it boss, the only had in my life. in separate pair myself. -- prepare myself. i was waving my head. i want to hear how it sounds. that was my first time i conducted. no one knew me.
he is my assistant. i thought i would conduct for 2 minutes. i conducted on interrupted. strange and unusual and maybe i had fear. it was at the beginning. there were many fingers. -- singers. they knew there was somebody on the podium unknown. young and experienced but somehow i managed to go through this large opera. the end of 1977. december, i remember very well. one of the last days of 1977. my first performance on the second of january. it was my debut. it was called -- theater. a long time. 37 years and a half.
23rlie: this season is the 2nd season for the mariinsky and named after? valery gergiev: maria, and first of -- emperess of russia. the wife of alexander the second. was 1860.eater charlie: that's where we met you. and still very active. valery gergiev: would go full-time and fair. seven or eight or more. and we have the music halls here. the new theater which is also in its own right a very beautiful building. charlie: i want to stay over there, a sense of the history.
you become a music director. eveny gergiev: i was not 35. 1988 that all of me to bet -- voted for the assistant director. trump how old? -- charlie: how old? valery gergiev: 34. gorbachev brought a lot of changes which is a well-known fact. some were more than expected. it came to institutions. economy and what ever the economy. stagnating but in 1988, the minister of culture, from moscow talking about the ballet
company. decisionhem we made a that this is a man or woman appointed and it was not anymore excepted. the real change gorbachev brought was people started to feel people started to they are professionals and they should express their opinions and they should insist their opinion is heard. --iday not simply a dictator charlie: not complete dictator? valery gergiev: that is right. maybe 1000 people who think they make all the decisions but gorbachev brought this important change. i know him very well. we are friends. he was in moscow.
conducting in london, his 80th birthday. he asked me to do so and i did so. and of course he brought historical changes not only to this country but to the world. music,: the history of insky,hen ski -- chav composers who worked here -- there is a link to music, great music of our times. : the history here is really big. i think it is important. great russian composers. all over the world, all of the time. musosky is good to know.
all of the world again. recent production. charlie: at some point you decided you wanted this theater to expand. have, this is a huge commitment. valery gergiev: it is a now it is over 1000 performances a year. only 34.5. i understood a huge opportunity. way, the generosity. trust which of the company that included 60 plus or 70 plus artists, very famous. and the ballet company, the most important are 80 plus.
, a is enough.upid these are legendary people. have the mariinsky, these are the most precious people. and to make them young. to take it and never lose it for the rest of their lives. it is a very important to have them always with us. me werele who voted for twentysomething or 80 something and suddenly, surprisingly i was supported by 85%. charlie: why? valery gergiev: maybe somebody remembered high -- how i directed "war and peace" and
maybe somebody thought i had a or strongerl character. it was difficult times. gorbachev was still admired by many. , not to may losing be losing the country but the that thee, the problem economy. reformsn bring other based on the economy which gives people confidence. salaries. then you can tell. we need more rapid changes. gorbachev was this was not brought to the level. thethe strong will for change was benefiting your own people. it could've benefited every family.
the economy was not working. in china in the same situation they made wise decisions to start with the economy and infighting. charlie: you made a commitment to build here in the had an architect who built the ,oundation and then you decided you saw a building you like to so much, well, toronto. valery gergiev: i was never thinking of building a new concert house or concert hall and we have both and now. thinking, the only one advantage i have over everybody is i love music and they do, too. as a leader, i have to prove i can work hard. and they would have to work, perhaps prepare. then we will expand and have
quality and international recognition which followed very quickly in 1988. orchestra as then it was famous in any case. parise seen in london or and maybe two years later, the met. in 1992 our first arrival in new york. infirst time in america 1990. 25 years since i came the first time to america. year.was no single it was very important for us to build relationships. of course, san francisco and chicago and los angeles. do you feel now about what this place represents? not only are you
music director and conducting but you are a builder. a guy with your own energy trying to transform an institution, where do want to go from here? valery gergiev: i have two legendary americans that come to mind. too much to say. it was russian by the way. and another great american. spoke a lot about them and paris and so forth. nny did travel. he did travel to other orchestras as well. y was there to conduct when the berlin wall went down. so did --
charlie: he was in washington? : and isaac was there to defend carnegie hall, the life of it. well toim was there as give his tremendous support. there were many others. charlie: there were all there for the fall? valery gergiev: there would be anymore. there was someone who could make a decision. the hall should go down as something built. the shops or what ever. one of the symbols. the music of the world overall. yes, you need leaders. know if i was a born leader but i was born most probably in the right time.
carnegie hall needed leaders to save it. in my own small way, maybe this city our country needed a leader who would make sure that the ballet would not disappear. no more. wait a second, there is a problem. i thought in 1988 and especially in 1999, i will make whatever it takes. , -- i dider happens my best to make these matters work. ♪
riccardo muti: this is a good question. people feel happy on the podium. that to conduct a great orchestra in front of the public that knows what they are listening, it is a big challenge every time. you cannot be completely happy. charlie: willing to be there and each time thinking i can get it better this time? riccardo muti: every time. one of the most difficult is the end of the performance. if the public likes it, though public applauds and sometimes ifh standing ovations and you are honest with yourself, you start to think about all of the things you did not achieve. yourself and about
you have to smile to the public giving the impression you are happy. it is a contradiction. charlie: is there a metric for the perfect conducting of a symphonic piece? measure if ity to is perfect or the best because of there is no real judge. riccardo muti: perfection does not exist. and you can try all your life to discover some of the truths that is in a score. you are faithful to what is written in the score but it is not just one part of your work. behind the notes, you have the universe. the truth with a capital "t." you cannot possess, cannot reach that point because if you are able to know the universe behind
the notes, you are god. charlie: and you are not god. riccardo muti: we all have a little piece of that. we altogether become god. altogether. because altogether we can have the real truth. the complete truth, nobody has, not even the critics. [laughter] charlie: but, it is the pursuit of that that makes a lifetime in music so exciting. riccardo muti: unique, yes. that is the pursuit of that. it takes all the entire life. i remember when i was a music director in florence and there was 27 years old, the founder of the festival. he was one of the greatest conductors of the time. he was still alive in florence. he was 90 years old.
and when we met he said to me, what a pity to be near the end of life when i was starting to learn how to conduct an orchestra. that didn't mean 1, 2, 3. to conduct an orchestra means being able to get out the musicians, the best of their culture and feelings. that is conducting, not jumping on the podium and making all kinds of noise. charlie: getting the best out of the musicality of the musicians. : especially when you reduce, reduce your beat. the great conductor who died said to me one time what would be so wonderful if one day we could conduct an orchestra without moving our arms. many times, the conductor is for
-- is an impediment for the public to enjoy the music because we are becoming more and more a visual society so we are attracted from what we see on the podium more than what we hear. charlie: what do you think you have accomplished in the past five years since he began in 2010? riccardo muti: first, more and more i like and love the city. i think chicago is one of the most beautiful cities in this country. it is really a beautiful city. the public, the people are really what we think are the real americans. charlie: strong shoulders. riccardo muti: then with the musicians, in five years we did not have one time a friction. it was always a wonderful time to be together. i think working together, as
every conductor brings, i have brought part of my culture. i come from europe and the mediterranean. i think we italians, especially the italians of the south, we have this kind of sense of delight of the beautiful sunshine that we bring into the music. melancholy. charlie: melancholy. riccardo muti: full of light. charlie: you have also said the next five years are much more important. riccardo muti: yes, we are really one body now together. we have to use the chicago symphony and the music to heal as much we can do the world because the world is an incredible difficult time. bloody time.
everywhere. the music is the only -- music does not bring words generally. forget the opener or an auditorium. pure music itself -- words are the problems. in life. because with words you can save life. charlie: with words you can offend. riccardo muti: yes especially , when you say the truth you can offend somebody. if somebody says you are ugly, you are saying the truth sometimes. charlie: when you came to chicago, you left lascala? why did you leave? riccardo muti: after 19 years being together with the musicians and the many good things we did around the world, it was a big problem between me and him. a big friction.
two different views, visions. that brought this fight which sometimes happens in italy -- they became political. you know the fact that some workers were on the left, some were on the right. it became a problem of unions. it became another thing instead of being artistic, and became political. when the politics comes into theater or opera house or concert hall it is better for , the musician to go away. charlie: at the same time, i i have her conductors say to me they tire of this sort of responsibilities of a conductor or the music director of the symphony because of fundraising, because of entertaining, because of all those other things that have to do with maintaining the
orchestra, but not leading the orchestra. riccardo muti: yes. it depends very much on the people that are working for the orchestra. the board of directors, etc.. in chicago, it is very well-balanced because the sponsor is bank of america which has been very helpful and still very helpful. then, we have a family, sam and helen, they are friends of mine. they gave a huge contribution to the orchestra for the chair of the music. so staying together one or two times a year, having dinner and making jokes it is pleasant. ,charlie: are you going to take the orchestra to cuba? riccardo muti: i hope because that would be a statement of friendship.
as nixon when he went to china, the philadelphia orchestra went. that was one of the cultural statements. and it helped. a went to japan the first time, it was such a revolution. even in the restaurants, the french restaurants, they lost their competition with the italian restaurants. charlie: what would you conduct at carnegie hall? riccardo muti: it is three programs. quite interesting because we bring two symphonies. it is one of the greatest composers of the russian school together with the others. we do the first and the third symphony, the divine poem of the symphony. in the first program, we do the first piece dedicated to the sea.
-- in english, in germany -- prosperous voyage. then -- the first part is dedicated to the sea. the second program will be the concerto number two. schumann, a german program. the third program will be the fifth symphony. and then one we did in chicago a few days ago. having one day before another -- before the film which is a great film. in two year's time, we will do another product of the collaboration between a film
director and a great composer which would be ivan the terrible. charlie: on the 125th season of the orchestra? it? riccardo muti: yes. it will be the third opera. i did mcbeth and this will be the end of the season. it is an opera i have done many times. i recorded and made a video. it is an italian baritone. today considered the -- it started with me. i worked with him and made him. not because he is large because he is the right voice for this role. charlie: are you concerned about the future of music and the future of symphonic music?
riccardo muti: i think the music will not disappear because if it does, it means mankind is gone. humanity is. but -- we have -- i'm thinking which would be the future -- music will exist. but, will change completely, especially the new music. i think all this cultural influences that we are having from different parts of the world from the east -- china, korea, japan and south america and other parts of the world. this globalization even if it is a bad word i hate -- the mixture of all these cultures coming together will bring new language in music. maybe we'll bring also a better relationship between public and composers because now the distance between the public and
the composers that are writing music is too wide. and so this makes it very difficult for the new music to survive because we have thousands of composers around the world. they write their music. when we conduct the score one time or two times, we feel morally in order. and then we forget the piece, after the second performance and the public also. incredible composers we had at the beginning of the 20th century -- with their life also the music is gone. and so what that means we have to find in the future a way that composers and the public can communicate much more than today. ♪
film scores and chamber music. his new memoir takes a look at the life that accompanies the music. it is called "words without music." i am pleased to have philip glass back. anything you want to disagree with with the introduction? philip glass: what i usually say is i write to music. it changes. that's what i like. it is what i do. charlie: writing theater music? what is it? : opera and film and can be dance. anything that involves collaboration. charlie: collaboration and performance? philip glass: i am talking movement. and i have done i have written because they asked me to write
them. remember is the other stuff. but you started to write another memoir and that reason is you want it to look at? philip glass: i was going to do a different one and i started looking at myself. i wanted to talk about the people i knew. charlie: and you ended up with this opening sentence. quote, if you go to new york city to study music, you will end up like your uncle henry, spending your life traveling from city to city and living in hotels. you then say that was my mother, , ida glass. when she heard of my plants, i was sitting with her at my kitchen table in baltimore heading back to home after returning from the university of chicago.
philip: that is a pretty good reading. [laughter] philip: she was a school teacher, librarian. the family wanted me to study music. we were not supposed to become musicians. there was a history of musicians in the family, and that was considered not the best way, that was not what they had in mind for us. i had just finished the university of chicago and i was a young guy. i had gone to the early ce program, intran graduated from university at 19. i did not go into medicine or law or anything reasonable. i decided to pursue what i wanted to do, which was music. charlie: god bless you for that. everybody ought to do that, pursue what they really want to do. philip: my mother lived long enough to see me at metropolitan opera. in a way -- we never referred to that conversation. she was also concerned about
what i was doing. my dad had a record store. she was a literary person. she liked books. she was a librarian. charlie: she thought you had talent. philip: i don't think she would have known. my dad like music. she did not particularly like music. i would practice in the kitchen. i did not like playing alone. i was probably performing for my mother when i was eight or nine years old. eventually i performed -- charlie: is the ability to be able to create music either as a composer or vocalist, a player, some different skill that people have? or is it something you can develop? philip: i think it is both, really. for some reason, at least in the world of concert music or theater music, we tend to start fairly young.
that is not always true. the beatles were finishing art school when they formed a band, they were in their 20's. that is very common in a popular music. not in as the world of concert music, european art music. i began when i was very young. i was six or seven years old. charlie: you began because you had some instinct. and you showed some -- philip: i wanted to do it. and my parents also felt that -- this was also the phase where everyone should have some music education. my sister and brother had piano lessons. i had flute lessons. i was the only one who became a musician. i would say i bonded with music early. charlie: you said, when someone asks you, what does your music sound like, it sounds like new
york city? philip: i was not born here. so, i discover new york and the music. i really discovered it -- i talk about in that book. on my first train ride to chicago on the railroad train an , all-night ride. there was nothing on the train. charlie: baltimore and ohio? philip: you remember that. it has been gone a long time. i remember the click and clack of the tracks. there was no -- there was nothing. they turned off the lights. i could not go to sleep. i was so excited to be going. i was i was going away to 15 and i was going away to school. with a couple of friends. really on my own. i heard the sound of the train. i heard the sound of music in a lot of things. charlie: what influence did richard sarah have on you?
he was a great friend and i worked with him. i was in paris on a fulbright. this was 1963 or 9064. he was there on a yale traveling fellowship. he was a great, he was a very good drawer. you might not know that. he was -- he developed those skills. we became friends as their. he got to bed before i did. maybe got back there, 1969 or 1970. i was back in new york and he met me -- i think, i came on the boat. we took the queen elizabeth. and he said, don't worry. i've got my truck waiting for you. i said, what is it for? he said for moving furniture. ,i moved furniture for a while.
one day he said, leo wants me to do a show at uptown. can you come and work for me? i had been helping him at night. partly because he needed someone to move the stuff around. we were friends and i did that for fun and also because i had the truck. i became his assistant for a number of years. charlie: you both shared a passion for jackson pollock. philip: and a number of other things. i was kind of ignorant. i had a layman's knowledge of modern painting. he took me to museums, gave me books to read. he basically educated me so he could talk to me. [laughter] that was true. charlie: he wanted to talk since somebody. philip: we were always good friends, but i got involved with his work up and until later. charlie: this is him talking about the importance of modern
art and the influence. here it is. richard: the generation that comes after misinterprets the generation that comes before so it can either mock it or extend it. every generation challenges the efforts and procedures and communication of the generation before it. it is true and language. charlie: who challenged to you the most? richard: pollock. charlie: jackson pollock challenged you the most? richard: he broke the rules in a great way. the man produces great art. you can go and look and it is still breathtaking. i think art is something we need. we need that expression. that we ourselves cannot understand in ourselves. artists open the door to that. i think great poetry, music, great painting doesn't. it is what makes society rich.
charlie: amazing. have the critics been good to you? philip: may have been confused. charlie: confused by what you are doing? philip: my generation we were , not doing what we were supposed to do. we're supposed to follow in the track of marvelous music. they were fabulous composers. these are big -- great, enormous talents. my generation said, why would we do that? they had already done it. it never occurred to us. partly because i spent a lot of time with painters and sculptors. the rate of change is every 10 years. music is every 75 years. much slower. my generation, we turned the apple cart and started someplace else.
one of the people, a very good critic of mine. when he first heard my music, the title of his review was, glass invents -- [laughter] charlie: that gave birth to my question. philip: he became interested in music. in fact, he began helping me write a book about music. a guy named robert jones. sometimes, there were -- tim page was another fellow. he was a young fellow i met who had a radio program at columbia university. one of these all-night video guys. he played my music. he became a writer about music. i made -- let's put it this way i cultivated critics who liked , me. the ones i did not like, i did not read. charlie: what is the biggest
misconception about the music you compose? philip: the needle stuck in the groove? it does not repeat. what is interesting about that, the music does not hardly ever repeat. if it repeated, it would be unlistenable. what makes it interesting is it is changing. charlie: what makes people think it is repetitive? philip: it keeps repeating. but it is about transformation. i do something which people were also doing in the art world. we were working. and many of us and the theater working towards a kind of nonnarrative expression. with beckett, he would take a piece and cut it up and put it back together. the idea of stories -- charlie: you are akin to beckett in what you are doing?
philip: when i was kind in paris, i was running music for his plays in paris. we had a little theater company. we were expatriates, i was studying music there. we were working with this material. he was very friendly. he did want to spend any time with us, but i wrote music for him. i wrote music for about eight of his plays. charlie: if for some reason, you cannot do music what do think you would do if you could not do music? philip: it never occurred to me to do anything else. i was -- charlie: how lucky are you? philip: i was in the generation between the vietnam and korean wars. there was no draft. i slipped through the window. i did not have to go in the army. charlie: alex ross on your early years said he was severe as
anyone and his amplified ensemble of wins focused on the basis of repetition and addition and subtraction. philip: very good. i think that is a good description. what happened later on is i became, by the 1990's, i got interested in all the things i had repudiated. i began doing operas based on films. romantic stories. i decided, let's do that now. i got interested, i became interested in narrative work. i was still working with wilson at the time. we did other pieces together. charlie: did you meet in paris? took einsteinwe to paris. that was years later's. -- years later. i was interested, i became
interested in everything eventually. i started from a narrow place. i had a very good music education, not only from juilliard. i had the technical equipment. i began with a very reductive place and i expanded from that. for example they are very rich, , in terms of the depth and thickness of the music. they are not necessarily what people would call minimalism. charlie: you don't like minimalism. philip: i liked it when i get -- he did it, but it was over by 1975 or 1976. after einstein, an opera about gandhi. that was the first piece where i brought social issues into the opera.
i got interested in how do we as artists, how do we talk about the world we live in? i got adjusted in social change for nonviolence. much later, it was here in new york. one of the things i liked about the theater was we could include ideals. we could talk about -- working on his movie kind of stuff. he is talking about the impact of technology on traditional life. she is talking about things that -- he is talking about things that are threatening, exhilarating, and maddening. charlie: are you interested in how technology can enhance and -- music? philip: yes. however, to do that, i have run out of a certain kind of paper i like. i have to have it printed myself.
there used to be five places in new york where you could buy music paper. i have to send away for it now. charlie: could you get it on amazon? philip: it is easier for me to print it myself. that is what we are doing. that is the starting place. i have a music staff in my office. they take the music and they put it into the computer. from there, we can make parts. a lot of the technology, i don't need it for writing music, but it is helpful preparing music for people to play. charlie: i am looking for the right word. i want to go out on "einstein on the beach." give me the right words to introduce it. philip: that is a hard one. you know, einstein was -- it was a surprise to everyone. it was a surprise for bobby maisel. we had come from, he came from the world of theater, i came
from the world of music. we were in similar places. we put our talents together. we became great collaborators because we trusted each other. it was about how artists trusted each other to create new work. it was a work of collaboration. other people were involved. i think that what i would say, the way to enter it is, as young people, we were in our 30's. i consider that a very young these dates. i think i was 35 or 36. he was younger than me. we did a piece no one had seen before. we had not seen it before, either. charlie: the book is called, "words without music. with an annie leibowitz photo thank you. we will do more. take a look at "einstein on the beach." ♪