April 27, 2010 > Who is the man behind 30 years of music in Fremont?
Who is the man behind 30 years of music in Fremont?
By Eman Isadiar
Symphony, ballet, opera - he does it all
On the evening of Saturday, May 1, music fanatics will gather at Merrill Gardens to honor the man who, artistically speaking, put Fremont on the map.
Over the last 30 years, he has not only transformed the Fremont Symphony from an amateur ensemble to a critically-acclaimed professional orchestra, but has been the driving force behind the only fully-staged production of Tchaikovsky's Nutcracker in the area. This event now brings countless families to Fremont every year from around the Bay to see the stars of Yoko's Dance and Performing Arts Academy make magic on stage at the Smith Center of Ohlone College.
But this man's artistic contribution to Fremont didn't stop with the symphony and ballet.
In the summer of 2007, he gave Fremont one of the most popular operas of all time-Puccini's "La Boheme"-in the inaugural performance of the brand new Fremont Opera.
Fremont was now hooked on opera, too.
Rossini's "Barber of Seville" followed the next year, and Verdi's "La Traviata" is expected to open in August 2010.
"So, who is this man?" one might ask with eagerness.
He is commonly known as David Sloss. But when he dons a tuxedo and taps his baton three times on the podium, he becomes Fremont's extraordinary musical superhero: Maestro David Sloss.
If you don't know him, you should.
He first appeared in Fremont in 1973 as a guest conductor of the symphony, and apparently, left a lasting impression. Seven years later, he succeeded Jason Klein as music director of the Fremont Symphony Orchestra and has remained in this position ever since.
Sloss' thirty years in Fremont have been filled with ups and downs; crises and victories. While Fremont itself grew and evolved as a community, so did the symphony change from a group of volunteers to the outstanding orchestra we know today. Throughout this time, David Sloss has worn many hats-and shirts-as he describes in the following recollection.
"During my first year with the symphony, I was asked to help out by modeling in a fashion show fundraiser for the orchestra. I figured I had to say yes to do my part and support the organization. They gave me a shirt to wear with a collar about two sizes too small, so I was choking the whole time. There was a thirty-foot runway to walk down. Never have I been so terrified in anything I've ever done in music."
When asked about his all-time favorite performance in Fremont, Sloss replied, "It's very hard to name a single concert, but I'll go with "The World of Opera" from last September (2009.) The orchestra was in great form, and we had four wonderful soloists. The program was a collection of my favorite numbers from operas I love dearly-"Pagliacci," "Don Giovanni," "Falstaff," "Carmen," "Turandot," and "Marriage of Figaro." Conducting opera is always a special treat for me. There's so much for the conductor to do in opera - so many tempo changes, rubatos, holds, traditions. I love working with great opera singers-you can sense what they're doing. It's not just following the singers; it's like chamber music on a large scale. I love the dramatic aspect of opera too, and the challenge of bending the musical timing to make theatrical points. I got to do all of that in "The World of Opera."
Despite the non-musical responsibilities placed on his shoulders over the years-such as modeling for a fashion show while struggling to breathe through a tight collar-Sloss is clearly a man who loves his job.
Concurrent with his tenure as conductor and music director of Fremont Symphony, he was also general director of West Bay Opera in Palo Alto where he conducted over twenty productions during his long association with the company. After leaving West Bay Opera, David Sloss and his wife, Barbara, founded Fremont Opera three years ago and serve respectively as the company's artistic director and general manager.
Earlier in his career, Sloss was professor of music at Sonoma State University, and has also worked as a producer and director for WGBH-TV in Boston where he received an Emmy nomination for the National Educational Television series "A Roomful of Music."
And now, fans of symphony, ballet and opera in Fremont honor David Sloss for giving them all of the above-a townful of music.
A Celebration of the Maestro's 30th Season
Saturday, May 1
Cocktails at 6:30 p.m.
Dinner at 7:30 p.m.
2860 Country Drive, Fremont