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Interview with Anthony Parnther, guest conductor of the VSO's Holiday Pops Concerts

American conductor, Anthony Parnther, is the Music Director and Conductor of the San Bernardino Symphony Orchestra and the Southeast Symphony & Chorus in Los Angeles.
Anthony Parnther
Used with permission
American conductor, Anthony Parnther, is the Music Director and Conductor of the San Bernardino Symphony Orchestra and the Southeast Symphony & Chorus in Los Angeles.

Anthony: My main agenda, regardless, is just to make good music with good people.

James: That’s Anthony Parnther, a bassoonist and conductor based in Los Angeles, and the guest conductor for the Vermont Symphony Orchestra’s Holiday Pops concerts taking place December 9th through the 11th.

Anthony: I spend my day to day floating back between the realms of recorded music and live music, and I’m really looking forward to working with the Vermont Symphony.

James: Anthony is a very active conductor in Hollywood.

Anthony: I’ve worked on hundreds of film and television titles. Some recent projects that I have conducted would include Encanto, would include Tenet, the most recent Black Panther: Wakanda Forever. Many of the top titles and franchises in the film and television world have been projects dear to my heart.

My job is to make this orchestra sound as good as it possibly can in as short a time as possible. But that’s my day to day job, you know, as a studio conductor. One thing that people don’t realize about movie music is that there are no rehearsals. When we show up to the studio at 10 o’clock and 1 second and we’re recording, sometimes the first take is what you hear in the movie but it’s often the second or third time through. But, we’re sight reading so it’s really important to be as efficient as possible. So that maybe a specialty of mine, is that level of efficiency.

James: And Anthony is bringing that level of efficiency and excellence to Vermont. This will be his first time working with the VSO.

Anthony: I’m really looking forward to coming back out to the east coast. I lived the first half of my life on the east coast. I’m looking forward to probably witnessing the first real winter I’ve had in many years.

James: Tell us about the VSO’s Holiday Pops concert. What can we expect?

Anthony: It’s a little bit of everything. So, I’ve programmed some things that people are very familiar with and I’ve also included a few things that they might not have heard. I mean, they certainly know The Nutcracker, they certainly know “Ave Maria”, they certainly know “Carol of the Bells”. But they might not know the Coleridge-Taylor “Christmas Overture” or Rosaphanye Powell’s “Christmas Memories”. So, it’s a little bit of a mixture and of course every Christmas concert has to have “Sleigh Ride”, that’s just a tradition. We have some sing-alongs. We’ve got a narrated piece. So, there’s a little bit of everything. It’s gonna be fun. I think that, you know, Bach, Beethoven and Mozrt are perfect but sometimes the vessel on which they’re delivered to audiences, sometimes that’s a little out-dated and not relevant. So, I really like to engage my audience and have a good time.

James: And what better way is there to celebrate December than with festive music, singing holiday favorites and enjoying some live storytelling? Vermont Public’s own Jane Lindholm will be lending their voice as a narrator along with singers from the Lyric Theatre and of course the Vermont Symphony Orchestra under the baton of conductor Anthony Parnther.

Anthony: I’m looking forward to seeing everybody for the Vermont Symphony Orchestra’s annual Holiday Pops. We’re gonna give three concerts on Dec 9th, 10th and 11th. On the 9th we’re gonna be at the Barre Opera House on North Main Street, on the 10th we’re gonna be at the Flynn Center in Burlington, and we’ll wrap up on the 11th at the Paramount Theater in Rutland.

So to get more information on our exciting, upcoming pops concert, where we celebrate the holidays you can go to for more information and resources to acquire your tickets and we look forward to seeing you there.

James Stewart is Vermont Public Classical's afternoon host. As a composer, he is interested in many different genres of music; writing for rock bands, symphony orchestras and everything in between.