Alison Young interviews Mark Mandarano

Alison Young interviews Mark Mandarano


September 25, 2013
mark mandarano
Mark Mandarano, Assistant Professor and Director of Instrumental Activities, Macalester College.
Courtesy of Macalester College

Imagine: You're a guest of one of the old guard in Moscow — sure, it may be 1999, but the guy never got the memo the Cold War ended — and you find yourself served dessert that's covered with red ants. What would you do?

Well, if you're conductor Mark Mandarano — Principal Guest Conductor of the Moscow Chamber Orchestra — you simply say, "I don't eat sweets."

That's sort of what happened.

But the most important part of the story is that Maestro Mandarano cut his teeth on one of the finest orchestras in the world, and he has now brought his talents to Minnesota as the Director of Instrumental Music at Macalester College. And his first act as a professional conductor on our soil is bringing together a group of the finest string players in town for a concert.

The players include members of both of our orchestras as well as teachers and professors from the local music schools. You could say it's an all-star line-up for a concert of Tchaikovsky, Bach, and a rarely heard piece by Mark Mandarano's own professor and mentor: Pulitzer Prize-winning composer Karel Husa.

The best part of all? The concert's free! It happens this Saturday at 8 p.m. at Macalester College's Mairs Concert Hall.

I sat down with Mark Mandarano today and we talked about his work and the upcoming concert.