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Destination KSA - Your Guide to Saudi

Melodies Unleashed: Conductor Ernst Van Tiel’s Journey, Guiding the Force of Star Wars

Melodies Unleashed: Conductor Ernst Van Tiel’s Journey, Guiding the Force of Star Wars

Ernst Van Tiel is a versatile and accomplished conductor known for his captivating performances with renowned orchestras worldwide. With a background in classical, jazz, and film music, Van Tiel brings a unique and dynamic approach to his conducting. His expertise extends to conducting film concerts, where he creates unforgettable experiences by blending the magic of live orchestras with iconic soundtracks. With a passion for music and a talent for captivating audiences, Van Tiel is a distinguished figure in the world of conducting.


1. Can you share with us your journey in becoming a conductor and your experiences conducting various Dutch broadcasting orchestras such as the Radio Philharmonic and the Metropole Orchestra?

After I completed my training at the conservatory, I had the opportunity to play in numerous small and large orchestras, exploring a wide variety of genres including classical and jazz. This rich musical background allowed me to gain a thorough understanding of the nuances of orchestra performance, which later played a crucial role in my conducting career.

These formative experiences also introduced me to a number of inspiring conductors who profoundly influenced my career trajectory. Their passion and expertise ignited a desire in me to study conducting.

My first job as a conductor came as a transformative opportunity. As part of this role, I was fortunate to collaborate with some of the most distinguished orchestras in the Netherlands. This hands-on experience significantly refined my conducting skills and expanded my artistic vision.

Working with renowned Dutch broadcasting orchestras such as the Radio Philharmonic and the Metropole Orchestra was particularly enriching. Conducting these orchestras allowed me to explore diverse musical styles and engage with a wide audience. It also provided me with invaluable insights into the dynamic world of music broadcasting.

2. You have worked with prestigious orchestras worldwide, including the Rotterdam Philharmonic, London Symphony Orchestra, and Royal Philharmonic Orchestra. How do you adapt your conducting style to work with different ensemble?

Working with world-class orchestras like the Rotterdam Philharmonic, London Symphony Orchestra, and Royal Philharmonic Orchestra has been immensely fulfilling.

My method involves understanding the unique sound and style each orchestra brings, while maintaining the diligence and passion that characterize my conducting. It’s crucial to work collaboratively with the musicians to maximize their strengths and produce the best performance.

Inspiration is a two-way street. While I aim to inspire the orchestra, I’m equally inspired by the musicians’ talent and dedication. Therefore, my conducting style balances my core principles with flexibility to each orchestra’s uniqueness, leading to memorable performances.

3. As a conductor, what excites you the most about performing film concerts and working with live orchestras? What unique elements does a live orchestral performance bring to the cinematic experience?

What excites me about conducting film concerts and working with live orchestras is the theatrical element. In cineconcerts, the orchestra is on stage, adding a visual dimension to the performance. This makes the music more impactful than in traditional cinema.

Live orchestral performances also ensure all the music is heard, unlike in cinema or TV where it can get lost behind dialogues and effects. The role of the sound engineer is crucial here, enhancing the balance so the music shines. The result is an immersive, multi-dimensional experience that combines the cinematic narrative with the power of live music.

4. The Star Wars music has become a cultural phenomenon. How do you ensure that the live orchestra captures the essence and magic of the original recordings while adding a unique live performance element?
Capturing the essence of Star Wars music in a live setting hinges on two factors. Firstly, a high-calibre orchestra is vital due to the complexity of John Williams’ scores. Secondly, the music itself, with its detailed scoring and evocative themes, inherently guides the performers.

By leveraging these two factors, we can respect the original recordings while adding a unique touch inherent to live performances. This allows us to recreate the Star Wars music authentically, while bringing fresh energy and perspective to each concert.

5. How do you approach conducting the epic and memorable scores from the Star Wars or Harry Potter movies? Are there any specific challenges or highlights that stand out to you?

My approach to conducting the iconic music from Star Wars or Harry Potter mirrors how I conduct opera or classical symphonies – with seriousness and meticulous attention to detail. This high regard for the music, given its exceptional quality, is appreciated by all orchestras.

A particular challenge in conducting these scores is synchronization. Striking the right balance between ensuring themes, accents, and drama occur at the precise moment, and maintaining a fluid, singing atmosphere, is essential. This requires a keen sense of timing and a deep understanding of the music’s narrative arc.

Regardless, the richly layered compositions of these scores make conducting them a unique highlight. Each performance is an opportunity to revisit these beloved melodies, uncovering new layers of meaning and musicality, thus making every moment both a challenge and a joy to conduct.

6. Are there any upcoming projects or collaborations that you are particularly excited about? Can you share any details about your future plans as a conductor?

I am particularly excited about several upcoming projects. I’ll be working on Hitchcock’s Vertigo, featuring Bernard Herrmann’s impressive music, which I eagerly anticipate given its emotional depth.

Another project is Amadeus, with the timeless works of Mozart, which always offers a uniquely rewarding experience. And I’m thrilled to tackle West Side Story, exploring Bernstein’s brilliant fusion of classical and jazz elements.

These projects span a wide range of musical styles, and I’m looking forward to bringing them to life on stage.

 


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