It would be hard to imagine someone with a more distinguished career in arts administration than Ara Guzilimian. Starting with the Los Angeles Philharmonic, then leading the artistic initiatives of the Aspen Festival and School, and finally, to his appointment as the Senior Director for Music at Carnegie Hall – always acclaimed for his musical ideas. Then in 2006 he was appointed the Dean of Juilliard, surely the world’s foremost music conservatory.
In conversation with host Gilbert Kaplan, Guzilimian reveals:
- How at age six he was captivated by an LP cover of Risë Stevens as Carmen “with one of the great come-hither looks in all of history, you know, leaning towards you with her ruby red lips.”
- That one must be honest about reactions to new music: “We can mouth platitudes and say nonsense to make ourselves sophisticated, but at the end of the day when your head hits the pillow and the lights go out, privately we think what we think.”
- That he selected a Bach Cantata to accompany him to the operating room for surgery
- That in his fantasy he would be a bass singing the major opera roles
- Guzilimian demonstrates his eclectic tastes in music with selections including Bach, Bizet and four living composers with whom he has worked: John Adams, Pierre Boulez, Ovaldo Golijov and Steve Reich.