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A conversation with Peter Mog This is another in a continuing series of programs each of which offers the listener a rare opportunity to hear an eminent musician informally discussing his own career and expressing his thoughts about a variety of topics related to the art of music. The regular participants in these discussions are Aaron Parsons professor of music theory at Northwestern University's School of Music and program annotator for the Chicago Symphony Orchestra. And George Stone program director at Radio Corp. Sirius music station WEAA FM in Chicago. Mr. Parsons and Mr. Stone have as their guest on today's program the distinguished Swiss conductor of opera and concert Peter Mog music director of the VMA books. Now here is Aaron Parsons was born in Switzerland in the little town of Santa Gollan And I believe that by your training and education have been Swiss. Could you tell us something that was part of your background. Yes I spent my first three years since with an ending thank God.
And after he moved to a day still I found I was being serious concern and I was eight years old to be have been injuries. And from some guy I didn't read his atmosphere and his monastery and on the situation on the lake and beginning south of you all and all I made it to any and sky. I have only a very big calling but I have a I have a cutting off placed on and. Off and none could who watched me playing the piano and he was often gazed in our house in the East Indies with us when he holed me on he's knees and he watched me playing the
piano when I was six and seven. It was like he was at the Dresden opera. He was at the opera. And I think he was a very good friend to my father. Your father was a music critic wasn't a. Yes man because of the voice travels he couldn't anymore. He was a comedy a minister appointed Lutheran minister and then he went into diplomatic. And then finally he said that he was also a loss of sight. Being philosopher you know if I decide to tell a logician and he has a famous book about Spinoza. And then he said to Don in Boston when he became a music critic
of the famous and spits and welcomes his musical background that led through theology to statesmanship as consuls was consul and raised and then to music what it was you know unusual background. Yes it was a big girl and he was a kind of Sally in the sense of Leonardo wanted to be an added I mean she runs and just be on even thought of not only a space she lie machine fog Temin Athene but the well-known isat who knows everything the background and all thing. And he played himself very violin and he sang and so it was very knowledge in our house that every evening we had saying quote It's chamber music. And I have to be kicked out every evening because I was smoking myself into inst instead of going to be a dice movie myself in the
hall to listen to the cotton and to have to be kicked out. Well that certainly in this kind of atmosphere it's easy to understand your own particular history because as one reviews your training we find the same studies of theology and philosophy in addition to music. What was your instrument as a boy. Mainly piano I played my first concert at Derby the Collatz orchestra. Piano concert and I was eight years or so of are technically. Japanese. And I paid a little a violin but this wasn't good I think. Did you ever join in the quartet playing.
Yes yes yes but I think I was out of it. Well you went to school then you started to school and raised and then I came back two years matters two years off. I don't know the name in American this is a long school year. We have a I was going to high school and then we moved back and I went to school in Switzerland and high school and graduate high school in Zurich. Well at this time was it planned that you also would enter the ministry. No not exactly and my father insisted to me to have. I wanted our base to become a conductor. My main interest and I think to insist that to be a good conductor
it's not. Enough to know the score and to beat beat and to be just a musician he he wanted me very much to have much wider and much larger background song than I as I was you know a finished instrumental studies. I used the occasion to myself because I I admired my father very much because of his lodge. He was some kind of a weird magician you know. And I wanted to be a magician. And so I started of course theology because I was interested in math and in the human being. And if it was a fee and it was not yet Christian to become I mean it's just it's just
mush. I left the development Nama development. Maybe I will become maybe music will become star stuff and music. Cam's friend at the University I take it you went to the university in Zurich doink NOSSAL and Geneva and there did your studies lead you into fields other than theology. Part of this larger frame of reference this renaissance type education and language so in a to understand language and. So on to learn to be English of course. RE In Switzerland we have German and Italian and French jets for us and speaking a bit Spanish. Did you include the classical languages. Yes yes. Not eating the cake and table.
You know kind of that big of history of knowing it well that was conservatory study. At this time no I didn't go to any conservative because I cannot make of it my time and I have seen Aves the people at the concert canteen and spending time in classes and never had coached occasion to really. So I went then instead of concert but I went into a smaller theater no ad first and in a big theater as a coach I thought meant that I could sing as I think for conduct and festival to coach sing. Because he wants to please sing as ended. Brass is the most important thing in music. I think
both not only vocal but also instrumental in the phrasing comes on live as we breath wheezing right. I think that's my opinion about how old were you at the time I was 20 21 22. Following the high school. Well yes the equivalent of high school same time university and coaching. What musical studies did you have up to this time. No of course you don't know me. Tim they take things calm to point and Amani and start it up privately. Yes but it was advanced much faster and to have much ma cation to speak to me to prevent to question. I think class is written it's very slow. I don't know how it's now. Maybe today fast. Julie
Eastman but the very slow and you're. Just a mug after this period as cool and that was for a long three years I meant then. Then I too was deleted professional scrum doctor and I want I meant as a coalition star and I could be called a decent second conductor to a very small it yet because at the big young conductor has navigation to contact vent in a place where he had on need to be focused and and cause and. And we had to perform it dece August and this caused it to perform and little Rioja us in being solo to and this is a very very tangly city.
Two cities in six months seven months season and upright man a job that still wouldn't be a nice and pseudo classic mostly opera and I think that's very fine to conduct this one was your first actual conducting experience. Yes yes in this small theater yes. And I'm a bit of my first piece I can tell. And that was with an orchestra. While some many many many very funny style is about to be had some kind of an actor who wasn't educated in the music business he knew his business as a manager how to little and how to describe a singer as most famous
singers came out of it. I see on it that I like Karzai. She was my first really. Yeah. So many many very famous singers came out of the nest and I remember that he wanted to do everything even the music of things which he didn't understand anything and he asked him. Do you play also the second night in the sea. Yes. Of course. Do you have a second. Well it was the it was the level of proficiency of your musicians fairly high. Yes it must have been yes I would often say you know and very important.
Of course for at least these very small orchestra you had to change just because of time now as even the AAP practice in any that it sounded fairly readily so that the most wonderful experience. Then I made peace. Yet they came out and I knew you would just call you by I dare say you must if you had to make all the arrangements of course nights and nights I thing you would scoff at that and I was like yeah noise are to 12 pieces must be alive. Yeah yeah. Well then how long were you at this. Very long because I mean most of all are and I have been in nine years day I mean four years and two option as a soldier sees me. So and then I just went. If he
won and then I had Gil cation to assist and he didn't do like thing and Tristan's on Daley on and I admire very much and I'd land in DC. I could pass for him at Mad him very very much now very very much and he was a very nice one man. Well I'm in a very real sense it could be said that you studied with Ford and were in this in that he imparted a great deal to you of yet is feeling for this literature. You have to study it. You can study conducting you can just watch me. I mean that's the best start to study. Yes. Is that what you did before you began conducting at the small theater because that was your first conducting experience had you
had some training prior to this in this music stick technique. No not at all or nothing never. So I watched the conductors and I. I think. This is difficult to become one. Money's gone that one can come back I think and the only thing I connect to have to have an experience that's that's an experience to be just a total scream and types and you had the instrument in all of the resources were limited in a sense this perhaps was a greater period of training for you than had you had your disposal the usual orchestra because you had these other problems to overcome. Yes no. Very important to make me stay honest
and not to make mistakes. When you conduct been in and I want to go to a lot of Chicago Symphony well after your year with Ford going there and I mean to Geneve and I have us became some kind of assistant to Anastasio I mean he gave me the songs to do conduct very often just recently on the orchestra and I made day I had radio audience in Geneva. My first appearance in a spell of concerts Mozart psych. And then I began to seem seem to bean being the youngest of us novelists and so I answered it and I called him business Hall along and began with this week's read history so I began to incorporate them. But your first appearances with this week's Ramond were
in the Mozart cycle. Yes yes. Let me ask you this. We have formed an impression in this country based upon two things I think your recordings in which there appears to be a predominant amount of Mozart and of course we in Chicago will recall very well your performances at the lyric in which you did three of the Mozart operas. We think of you as a Mozart specialist and as a matter of fact I know persons who regard you as one of the outstanding Mozart specialists in the world. Do you object to this kind of labeling do you feel that it's not good to be so prominently identified with one composer's work. You know I think if somebody or somebody would say I am. I am Tchaikovsky speech just I would object.
But I think to be regarded as a Mozart species I think because for me at least it's a just a key to the music. If you if somebody can play perfect Mozart concert pianist I know that he plays a vonder whistle. And I know it as he plays on the other side also crystalline Bach. And and X and I think Mozart if I have to listen to sing I ask what's up. And I know about that. Yes absolutely. So I think to be considered as of all its species. But your repertory certainly is a vast one. What sort of programming do you do. I'm doing very often Mantik.
German background between Bit bed and stout man and I'm doing I'm doing instance Hadia. Radio has to be just one of the leading you know just complete concepts and call it not profit not business. Commercial radio economist radio is already taken over by many many radio stations in your book. Well yes although I am maintaining I have also has wondered about the fringe.
Especially the late 19th century in the early 20th century in the opera field I'm called very often to do pay offs and I had a big success now in my upper house with barely evening doing off the ledge and I spend you know it. So that's also a top end to modern music I like to go out and have me do you. Yes. It's very interesting and at least I think one shouldn't in you know the music is going on. And after 20 years maybe no mating. But I think he just wants to. He did it and put it into a discussion we had many levelly recently and scandals and you put it and you know no and it was Stockhausen.
Have you conducted some of these searches and then a yes man. We have been very much very interesting and even eggs and tomatoes Honestly I think they have fascinating things. And lastly but there is some serious kind of off off off music which you did a premier of the first moments of a new DVD box your name and approx. That's a big fish was this you. And probably cast me in behaving me a bit and I must say I'm not used to such thing. They are used to some big belly behaving so Stocco beach
and I know this is a this electronic business and very much I think that they don't know it is the people of peace. A pretty advanced one. A pretty tough one for an audience. Yes I think for an audience which has a big hole after dark and beach and suddenly it that because language is public and that he had the chance that he had a very outstanding cause chicks like Monica cause which is riches. Absolutely faultless instrument. I think I never had a cause like that. They had the chance to have an eye
on one execution because I was day at and he seemed to be getting excited about this cause. Do you do the contemporary Russians stock which Of cause some symphonies and really moved on for coffee. Well you know I should have said the 20th century Russia was called the coffee. Yes I look off always after not patient to do a book of just war and peace in the theater but at about 50 so no effects and I didn't have a million. How long were you with the Swiss Ramond orchestra Mr Maag only engine gave out only to Ias I very often to conduct them for a conference but I lived in Geneva on the phone from fifteen to fifty two and then I went to distill it off. You were the author of the.
Yes yes. Not conduct about conduct or occasion to jumping to big it so not to be. Well if it hadn't and and all elected and big stars and big barn and bling and everything and you carried your share of the oh yes it did conduct I thought most time hasn't the performance just yeah yeah and also off pieces speech didn't didn't conduct before. So elect it out to her soul you know that whining pieces audio lining. You haven't even to a patient to the Herseth of course be dissing as you will because all 50 of you hadn't the business yet.
Seeing as changing quite often the cost to put in the new cost and what is a typical weeks schedule like for you at Dusseldorf. I remember one Sunday afternoon flayed I'm I was in the evening. To connect both and this goes for a shifting of gears doesn't it. Yeah and the Jewish state was elected and Maiden state was born. And Friday beginning Friday Saturday with Sunday so you can read Jewish day. Damn busy week I think because it was an end of me to imagine. So then following this three years experience in Dusseldorf.
Yeah then I have been appointed as they call it general music responsible for life in a city and bomb and this was very interesting so I could make my program if I could create a new site. It was even very interesting because it was the first time I had an opera. After the war so I could engage all of singing as a young singer as many American James McCracken was one of them. And I discovered the sand Wolfie and and I had Patricia Thomas and Eve on Shine a Light that in the first Yeah even for Americans and we had a very interesting pogroms but always in.
Some strange even to be had a meeting that studio which I began. I haven't got it wasn't that kind. Yes it was began with abstract and. TEXT And you know and it was some some kind of absolute peace and to begin at 11:00. And he sold it and on it 20 tickets and second formants must of course be filled out. My managers didn't seem to be happy about. You made nice to you and I thanked him and gave me another chance. And so be event don't beat you up was all I wanted and I had some lovely
I knew very well the president of police city of Bonn and so I engaged times to tease goods from and that the club and I invited my friend to sleep and I pushed him and he he caught the ball then said yep that's him model how can you place that on this is the chief of police. Yes and he has forbidden that piece so this must be a great city let's say. Speak to me. You're listening to a conversation with Peter mob with Aaron Parsons and go out to Dawn. We paused 10 seconds sports nation identification.
A conversation with...
Peter Maag, part one
Producing Organization
WEFM (Radio station : Chicago, Ill.)
Zenith Radio Corporation
Contributing Organization
University of Maryland (College Park, Maryland)
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Episode Description
This program, the first of two parts, features Peter Maag, Music Director, Vienna Volksoper.
Series Description
Eminent musicians discuss their careers and the art of music. The series is co-hosted by Arrand Parsons of Northwestern University School of Music and George Stone, WEFM program director.
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Host: Parsons, Arrand
Host: Stone, George Steingoetter, 1920-
Interviewee: Maag, Peter
Producing Organization: WEFM (Radio station : Chicago, Ill.)
Producing Organization: Zenith Radio Corporation
AAPB Contributor Holdings
University of Maryland
Identifier: 67-49-7 (National Association of Educational Broadcasters)
Format: 1/4 inch audio tape
Duration: 00:29:49
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Chicago: “A conversation with...; Peter Maag, part one,” 1967-12-21, University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC, accessed April 25, 2024,
MLA: “A conversation with...; Peter Maag, part one.” 1967-12-21. University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Web. April 25, 2024. <>.
APA: A conversation with...; Peter Maag, part one. Boston, MA: University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Retrieved from