An active conductor, Jay Friedman was named music director of the Symphony of Oak Park & River Forest in 1995. In 2002, he was chosen Conductor of the Year by the Illinois Council of Orchestras.
Friedman’s conducting career has included guest appearances with orchestras around the world, including the Orchestra of the Italian Radio, Malmo Symphony and Chicago Symphony Orchestra’s annual donor concerts. In April 2005, he conducted three concerts with the Santa Cecilia Orchestra of Rome. In March 2006, he conducted the Civic Orchestra of Chicago in a public master class of Mahler’s Fifth Symphony at Symphony Center, and in May 2007, he conducted the RAI orchestra in Italy with Daniel Barenboim as piano soloist.
Why did you choose your instrument?
My grade-school band director chose it for me.
What works are you most looking forward to performing this season?
There are two pieces, Schubert’s Mass in A-flat with Maestro Muti in February and, in April, Sibelius’ Four Legends from the Kalevala, which is some of my favorite music, and which I recently conducted with the Tucson Symphony.
What piece programmed in the 2013/14 season do you hope more people will come to appreciate?
I’d have to say the Sibelius, because it is mythological story telling that vividly portrays the fantastic tales of the Kalevala, the Finnish national epic.
With which other musician would you most want to play a duet?
Lauritz Melchior, my favorite tenor, who will never be matched in terms of longevity and stamina.
What is your most memorable CSO performance?
Smetana’s Má vlast with Rafael Kubelík conducting, in 1980.
Describe an unforgettable musical moment (as a performer or as a listener) you had as a young musician.
The first symphony concert I ever heard in high school. The CSO played Mahler’s First Symphony with Bruno Walter conducting, on the same day that Toscanini died.
Favorite food or meal:
A meal at Le Mimosa restaurant in the south of France.
Favorite book or movie:
When I was in high school, I loved the Scarlet Pimpernel books and even the movies later on, especially the one with Leslie Howard and Merle Oberon.
Offstage, I like to:
Conduct my orchestra in Oak Park and River Forest. I also like to cook.
YEAR JOINED THE CSO: 1962.
EDUCATION: Roosevelt University and Yale University.
FULL BIO here.