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Local Spotlight: Classics in the Cohan - KSBY.com | San Luis Obispo and Santa Barbara Area News

Local Spotlight: Classics in the Cohan

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With the second "Classics in the Cohan" concert of the season, the San Luis Obispo Symphony will perform a cello concerto by Sir Edward Elgar, Jean Sibelius' second symphony and G.W. Chadwick's "Jubilee."

It's a big program and the audition for another candidate, Jose-Luis Novo, to take the reins as the orchestra's artistic director and conductor.

"Music is my passion and I can't wait to share that with people," Novo says. "That's one of the thrills of being a performing artist, that you enjoy sharing that with people and I think that's my strength."

There's a list of people who will be evaluating Novo's strengths and the impression he leaves Saturday night. But Novo says, worrying about that doesn't help.

"There is pressure, because you know that they're obviously testing you," he says. "I try to enjoy myself because if I'm too worried about what they're going to think about me, I don't think that I'm going to be showing my best side."

Some conductors work to control the orchestra's performance, like sound engineers, blending volume and intensity to find a particular mix. Novo says he uses a more collaborative approach with the musicians. 

"I try to bring people together and energize them rather than dictate what I want to hear. In many ways, you are like a sports coach. You have to prepare them for the concert and the concert is the game," he says.

Novo says that collaboration extends to his ability to attract top soloists from around the world, to help the organization build more strong seasons. He says he has the contacts and relationships to facilitate those visits.

Jose-Luis Novo leads the San Luis Obispo Symphony Saturday night at 8:00 at the Performing Arts Center at Cal Poly. For tickets and more information, go to slosymphony.org.

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