Music Haven x NHSO Finalists III | A Fantastic Fantastique


Maestro David Amado flexed his shoulders, squinted just slightly, and looked over at the audience at Woolsey Hall. 

"Hello," he said. "I'm David Amado, or bachelor number three."

The auditorium erupted into laughter, a sea of attendees still settling into their seats for the show. 

Amado is the third and final candidate for music director of the New Haven Symphony Orchestra (NHSO). Thursday evening, he conducted Hector Berlioz’ Symphonie Fantastique with Maurice Ravel’s Piano Concerto in G Major, and George Tsontakis Laconika at Woolsey Hall, bringing the audience to its feet more than once. About 150 attended the performance. 

Amado is a combination of nuance and enthusiasm, understated until he isn't. It makes the simplest, sharpest of gestures seem radical.  As Ravel's piano concerto coasted over the audience, he leaned to the left, swooping in toward the strings as pianist Stewart Goodyear's hands went fully airborne. During Berlioz’ trippy Symphonie Fantastique, he bounced on the balls of his feet, then arched his back to usher in the composer's fever dream.

And as he conducted, the works began to speak to each other—Tsontakis' sense of discord and anxiety seeping into the second movement of Ravel's concerto; Ravel's understanding of American jazz rhythms gossiping back with Laconika; Berlioz pouring deep emotion into his celebrated "March to the Scaffold," as if communing with spirits of future composers. 

In this podcast, Music Haven students Robert Oakley and Cris Zunin weigh in on the performance, from what they look for in a conductor to how they connected with the evening's selection, and how those pieces connected with each other.