An Entrance of Note

January 23, 2000|By Arthur Hirsch

Yuri Temirkanov steps into the stage door at Joseph Meyerhoff Symphony Hall wearing a long black coat and the facial expression of a man alert to possibilities, vaguely amused by life in general, the moment in particular. It's just before 7:30 on a night of beginnings as Baltimore welcomes the new conductor of its symphony orchestra, laying before the Russian's feet a homey carpet of fresh snow.

Temirkanov, a slim 61-year-old, strides into his dressing room, alternately suiting up and receiving visitors: Baltimore Symphony Orchestra board chairman Calman J. Zamoiski Jr., Mayor Martin O'Malley. Via e-mail from Switzerland, good wishes from former BSO conductor David Zinman.

Principal cellist Mihaly Virizlay shows up with urgent business, a question about the score of tonight's piece, Gustav Mahler's Symphony No. 2 in C Minor: Is this note in a passage in the first movement played as a 16th or 32nd?

"This appears not the same, but is," explains Temirkanov. "Ta-de-da-da-da ..."

"Ba-de-da-da-da ..." Virizlay responds.

OK, got it.

At 8 p.m. personnel manager Kevin D. Ladd's voice sounds over the intercom: "Onstage in 5 minutes."

Temirkanov takes the stage first to receive a proclamation naming him an honorary Baltimore citizen. Then, at 8:14, he steps into the applause again to begin the program, ushering in the 83-year-old orchestra's new day.

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