“The goal is not to become friends with them, not to make them like you. The goal is to make them play their very best,” says Alondra de la Parra, the recently appointed Chief Conductor, Artistic Director and Community Arts Leader of the Queensland Symphony Orchestra. The three-pronged title, a mouthful of a moniker, suggests the QSO Board has huge expectations, but their new Music Director also has license to expect a great deal from Queensland’s state orchestra as it celebrates its 70th anniversary in 2017.

Direct, business-like, charismatic, flinty yet friendly, de la Parra is one of a new guard of accessible conductors who regard themselves as simply a part of a team, one element in a performance. There’s not a trace of the diva or an old school dictatorial approach towards conducting as exemplified by Karajan, Szell or Toscanini. In de la Parra’s vision for a cohesive, collegial, world-acclaimed QSO, she is mindful of the necessity for her to balance confidence with humility. She believes in sharing ideas and is open to criticism if it serves the best interests of the music. Her team-building stance is mirrored in the lineage of her notable mentors, in particular Ken Kiesler,...

Access our paywalled content and archive of magazines, regular news and features for the limited offer of $3 per month. Support independent journalism.

Subscribe now or log in to continue reading.