“Master Artist” Series Debuts

Photos: Weston Today

Music lovers were treated to a conversation with Maestro Steven Mercurio on September 22 at the Weston Public Library, the first in a planned Weston Commission for the Arts series featuring accomplished Weston artists.

In his career, Mr. Mercurio has been an assistant conductor at the Brooklyn Philharmonic and the Metropolitan Opera, was the principal conductor of the Opera Company of Philadelphia, then became the music director of the Spoleto Festival, and is now chief conductor of the Czech National Symphony Orchestra.

He has also conducted several television productions and recorded for major labels such as Sony Classical and Decca.

He musical journey began, he said, as a teenage rock and roll guitar player. But winning a composition competition as a junior at Boston University and then graduating from The Juilliard School set the stage for taking the stage, baton in hand.

As a composer himself, Mr. Mercurio said his important role as a conductor is to be an advocate for the composer. He said his role model is Leonard Bernstein, whom he got to know in the last two years of Mr. Bernstein’s life.

Mr. Mercurio entertained the audience with stories of his experiences with Mr. Bernstein and what it is like to work with luminaries such as Andrea Bocelli, Aretha Franklin, Luciano Pavarotti, and Sting, who once said Mr. Mercurio is “a performer as much as he is a conductor.”

That range of artists represents the maestro’s “open-minded” approach to music. He said he takes on a wide variety of projects, mainly because he would “go crazy being stuck in only one genre.”

Mr. Mercurio said his path from New York City to Weston, seven years ago, was not the standard one. His children had already graduated high school, and the pandemic had not yet materialized.

He had a lively conversation with the audience and shared a few secrets to his success: outworking everyone else, and always being there. “You learn by osmosis,” he said.

Future installments of the “Master Artist” series by the Weston Commission of the Arts are yet to be announced.

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