A Portrait of the Conductor as a Young Man

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David Robertson is a native Californian, born and raised in Santa Monica, which made it easier for him to get to the L.A. Phil when he could. He remembers William Kraft as the Principal Timpani of that orchestra. Shannon Wood performs Kraft’s Timpani Concerto No. 2, “The Grand Encounter,” with the St. Louis Symphony this weekend, Robertson conducting.

Conductor-to-be "Dave" Robertson looks dubious.
Conductor-to-be “Dave” Robertson looks dubious.

On at least one occasion–see documentation above, ca. 1968-69–the young Robertson met Kraft when the timpanist moved to the podium to conduct. The caption reads: “Instructions From El Maestro. William Kraft, head of percussion section of Philharmonic, conducted Sunday’s concert for young people. He’s pointing out part of a score to Dave Robertson, who plays French horn in All-City Honor Orchestra, and Lisa Martin, who plays violin.”

Wood Kraft

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Principal Timpani Shannon Wood visited with William Kraft, the composer of the Timpani Concerto No. 2, “The Grand Encounter,” in the composer’s home near Pasadena, California, this summer. Wood plays the work with the St. Louis Symphony, April 30-May 1, 2016, at Powell Hall. Wood sent me a video of their conversation, and cinematographer Joshua Dobkins put together this edition of the Video Blog, including excerpts of the timpanist practicing the work in his Grand Center studio. You’ll see a new look to the Video Blog. Swank.