I’ve been around here since the Orchestra of Indian Hill was founded, and played cello in almost every concert since. Back in April of 1997, I was also the Director of Performance – the General Manager of the Orchestra and all concert activity. In late March, three weeks before the final concert of the season, we found ourselves in need of a guest conductor. But who could I get on such short notice?
My first call was to a friend who worked for the Boston Symphony Orchestra to see if we could get the then-assistant conductor. While we were speaking, he suggested, “What about Bruce Hangen? He’s been doing a lot of guest conducting lately and he might be interested. Do you know him?” Of course I knew Bruce! I had played in the Portland Symphony when he was their Music Director. But I had left the orchestra in 1981 and hadn’t seen or spoken to him in 16 years.
Coincidentally, the BSO assistant conductor and Bruce had the same manager, so I called. The BSO conductor wasn’t available, but Bruce was. I said, “Please tell Bruce who is making the inquiry – he may remember me from his Portland Symphony days.” Well, Bruce remembered, he was free, and he came to conduct.
The original program didn’t include Beethoven’s Symphony No. 7, but Bruce suggested we do that instead of the originally scheduled work. This made all the musicians happy. The rehearsals were high-energy and focused. Bruce worked on what needed work and trusted us to take care of the rest. We accomplished so much, and I still remember how inspired the musicians were.
The musicians were especially happy when they finished the piece during the concert. There was a standing ovation after the final chord – before intermission! Wow.
Now we’re getting ready for opening night, and Bruce, now our Artistic Director, will be conducting Beethoven’s Symphony No. 7 once again for the Orchestra of Indian Hill. On Saturday night, as I look out at a full house from my seat on stage, I’ll be remembering that concert over 16 years ago.
Susan Randazzo is the Executive Director of Indian Hill and cellist in the Orchestra of Indian Hill.