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Published: Thursday, November 3, 2011, 11:57 a.m.

PNB shows off new maestro

  • The new music director at Pacific Northwest Ballet


    The new music director at Pacific Northwest Ballet

Pacific Northwest Ballet on Thursday invited reporters and patrons to meet the company's new music director, conductor Emil de Cou.

The informal event also allowed us a preview of PNB's "Love Stories," a collection of famous snippets of romantic, passionate ballets.

Underlying the wonderful dance, is the lush rich music that comes from the PNB Orchestra.

"Love Stories" features music from Stravinsky, Tchaikovsky, Profokiev and Debussy. It's fantastic music and would make a trip to Seattle worthwhile to watch the symphony play alone.

That's what I got to do Thursday, and I shot this short video while peering into the orchestra pit.

Maestro de Cou told the small gathering that he's thrilled to be in Seattle with the best ballet orchestra in the country. At a time when many dance troupes are relying on recorded music, it's a treat that we have this professional group under the direction of a passionate director.

Conducting for ballet isn't the same as leading a symphony orchestra, de Cou said. Music often has to be reinterpreted to support the action on stage, adding drama and emotion to scores that otherwise may be quiet or flat.

The conductor said to listen closely to the piece selected in "Swan Lake."

"Love Stories" opens Friday and continues for seven performances at McCaw Hall, Seattle.

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