Dirigo Speaks is the Bangor Daily News’ speaker series in which the Maine residents who shape our lives talk about what inspires and propels them – and, by extension, us – forward.
Lucas Richman, musical director of the Bangor Symphony Orchestra, joined Dirigo Speaks July 25 for an engaging presentation and conversation. Through a series of group exercises, Richman illustrated the unique relationship between a conductor and an orchestra. After his remarks, BDN reporter Emily Burnham joined him onstage for a candid conversation about influences, future plans, and stories from Richman’s varied career.
Richman has well over 150 original works to his name – and they’ve been performed by upwards of 200 orchestras. Works as varied as a concerto each for piano, oboe, and, naturally, bass clarinet; “An Overture to Blanche,” which takes its cues from Tennessee Williams; “Behold the Bold Umbrellaphant,” a work adapting Jack Prelutsky’s poetry that may have been aimed at kids but will delight even the most stone-hearted adult; Jewish, Christian, and Indonesian devotional music; and dozens of works of chamber music. He’s also arranged pieces from the American songbook, like the works of Berlin, Gershwin, and Stephen Foster.
His own compositions have been described as lyrical and unabashedly tonal. Reviewers compare him with composers as varied as Kurt Weill, Schoenberg, the great Russians of the early 20th century, and Leonard Bernstein – good company for sure.
In 2011, Arcade Fire and Lady Gaga got to share a stage with Lucas when he won a Grammy for Best Classical Crossover Album, for “Calling All Dawns.”
Somehow, in between all that, he’s found time to conduct scores for Hollywood, like the score behind “Se7en” – if you found the “What’s in the box” scene creepy, that was Lucas at work.
Lucas was the Music Director of the Knoxville Symphony Orchestra for 12 years, leaving a deep mark on that institution. After a concert featuring Kodaly’s “Hary Janos Suite,” The Knoxville Metro Pulse described Lucas’s legacy at the Knoxville Symphony Orchestra as a “quantum leap in technical achievement — an achievement that verges on the phenomenal.”
In 2012, Lucas joined us here in Bangor to take the helm at the BSO, where, in six years, his achievement has been just as profound.
We thank Jeff Kirlin’s The Thing of the Moment for sharing photographs of the evening.
Dirigo Speaks is an event series of the Bangor Daily News, presenting conversations throughout the year with civic leaders, changemakers, artists and business leaders shaping Maine’s future.