Josep Caballé-Domenech came out of left field in May to pick up the baton from the ailing Lawrence Leighton Smith. But since then, he's settled into his role as chief proponent of the Colorado Springs Philharmonic (see "Stop! In the name of love," Audiofile, May 26).
The Spanish conductor, 38, faces a formidable freshman season, which opens the weekend of Sept. 17 and 18 with Titan, featuring Mahler's Symphony No. 1 in D major and Tchaikovsky's Piano Concerto No. 1 in B flat minor.
Caballé-Domenech has to complete commitments elsewhere before transitioning full-time here; he spoke with the Indy via e-mail while preparing for a production in Dresden, Germany. But he sounds eager to settle in with musicians he clearly respects, writing about their enthusiasm and the emotion their work produces, and praising local audiences and the philharmonic staff.
"I really feel I'm part of this great people," he writes, "and that we're going on the same direction in this amazing journey."
In the spring, he'll conduct four concerts, including the March 29 evening with Itzhak Perlman — a dream come true for someone who saw the legendary violinist while growing up in Barcelona.
"Everyone is very excited to have one of the world's best musicians performing here in Colorado Springs with the philharmonic," marketing manager Nathan Willers says. Tickets are sold out, but he emphasizes that seats remain for other autumn concerts, including a Beatles tribute and Elgar's Enigma Variations.
There's no question, though, that the concerts Caballé-Domenech leads will be the season's highlights. Says Willers: "Josep brings a high level of passion and thrill to every piece of music he conducts."