Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Who is Matthias Bamert, and Why Does He Have His Own Society?

There's nothing funnier than Schoenberg:

This video has been kicking around on YouTube for years now, and Alex Ross fills us in on its origins. Apparently, it was the brainchild of WCLV radio host Robert Conrad, who conceived it as an April Fool's joke in 1977 along with Cleveland Orchestra conductors Kenneth Jean and Matthias Bamert, who conducts music by Debussy this weekend with the Rochester Philharmonic:
The spot was concocted as an April Fool's joke in 1977. Kenneth Jean, then assistant conductor for the Cleveland Orchestra, wrote the script; Conrad announced it in the style of the K-Tel ads that were everywhere at the time; and Matthias Bamert, then resident conductor in Cleveland, participated in the production. 
You might not know it to look at him, but Bamert's quit the cut up. In a recent Democrat and Chronicle article, Stuart Low tells us about a rather unusual, pugilistically themed music video for Gershwin's Concerto in F that Bamert appeared in, and the conductor himself gives us his children's stock response to the question of whether they've followed in their father's professional footsteps: "No," they reply, according to Bamert, "we're normal."