By Stephanie Powell
“Quiet,” says cellist Michelle Djokic of the New Century Chamber Orchestra (NCCO) to her gregarious and chatty cohorts. “The boss has something to say!”
“Which boss?” quips Glenn Dicterow, the New York Philharmonic’s former longtime concertmaster.
It’s the March 4 rehearsal at the Kanbar Performing Arts Center, tucked away on Page Street in San Francisco, as Dicterow and NCCO prepare to perform “Dicterow Leads Brahms and Mozart”—a program that will include Brahms’ Sextet for Strings No. 1 in Bb Major, Op. 18 and Mozart’s Divertimento in D Major K. 136, among various works by Grieg and Holst. Dicterow is the first guest in a new concertmaster series—a series that NCCO will host each year that features one guest concertmaster to partner up with the chamber ensemble. Dicterow, who retired from the New York Phil last June to teach at USC’s Thornton School of Music, will be performing this week at various venues throughout the Bay Area—a locale that he “adores,” he notes. See all dates below and here.
After four rows of eager classical-music players and enthusiasts file in and are seated, Philip Wilder, NCCO’s executive director, is ready to introduce the NCCO’s guest.
“I can’t think of a better way to kick [the concertmaster series] off than with Glenn Dicterow,” Wilder says. “I’ve been completely star struck all week, and it’s been a thrill to have you here.”
“It’s very free form,” Dicterow says, “and that’s what it’s all about. No two people will see the phrase the same way or the dynamics the same way, but the fact is that everybody offers something new—and I find that extremely refreshing.”
After the NCCO’s final performance on Sunday, Dicterow will head back to L.A. where a gaggle of USC students await his return and instruction. Teaching has become a focus for Dicterow’s post-New York Phil concertmaster life—he continues to teach at USC, flies to Manhattan on a monthly basis to teach at the Manhattan School, and has 11 students remaining at Juilliard before he finishes his tenure at the revered institution.
“I’m all over the place,” Dicterow explains. “This is hardly a retirement.”
For more information about the New Century Chamber Orchestra performance with guest concertmaster Glenn Dicterow call (415) 392-4400, or visit www.ncco.org. Tickets: $29-61.
New Century Chamber Orchestra: Dicterow Leads Brahms and Mozart
First United Methodist Church, 625 Hamilton Ave., Palo Alto
Friday, March 6, 8PM
Nourse Auditorium, 275 Hayes St., San Francisco
Saturday, March 7, 8PM
Osher Marin Jewish Community Center, 200 N. San Pedro Rd., San Rafael
Sunday, March 8, 5PM