Choral Journal’s ongoing column called Choral Conversations” features interviews with noted choral conductors and composers. The fourth interview in this series took place with Robert Page in the November 2016 issue.
You can read the interview in its entirety online at acda.org/choraljournal. Click “Search Archives” and choose November 2016 from the dropdown menu.
Do you have a favorite type of music?
I respect all kinds of music. I worked with Marvin Hamlisch for seventeen years, preparing choruses and arranging his music for chorus. I treated it in exactly the same way. You give it your best…and the orchestra knows that.
How do you arrange singers?
I don’t believe in “blend,” but I do place individuals where they will be effective… unanimity of sound, of vowels, speech in slow motion. I can’t do that with some of the very large choirs, so the first thing I want is precision on the pitch. I hear and then prioritize what I want to work on. In Cleveland, I prepared a 1,500-voice choir for Lorin Maazel. I first met with small groups in their own settings, then gathered them into increasingly large rehearsals.
How do you feel about choral texts?
I love them. I have used John Ciardi’s How Does a Poem Mean to emphasize word importance.
Read the rest of this interview (and more!) in the November 2016 issue of Choral Journal.