Unscripted. Unstaged. Leslie DalaUnscripted. Unstaged. is an interview series from Laura Murray Public Relations that speaks with fascinating artists, advocates, administrators, and other individuals who keep the Canadian artistic community visible, viable, and vibrant. This week we spoke with Leslie Dala, recently appointed Music Director of the Vancouver Academy of Music Symphony Orchestra, Music Director of the Vancouver Bach Choir, and Associate Conductor and Chorus Director with Vancouver Opera. Dala has been a member of the music staff at L’Opera National du Rhin, the Santa Fe Opera, and the Canadian Opera Company and has been a frequent guest conductor with the UBC Opera Ensemble.
Q: If we were introduced at a party – what are the three things you would be excited to share about yourself?
I would be excited to tell you about what I do, namely that I am a musician and a conductor and that I have the pleasure and privilege to work with some very fine artists, ensembles and organizations. I am also very excited about the year coming up in which I have exciting projects abroad in Italy and China as well as some wonderful things to look forward to in Vancouver with Vancouver Opera, the Bach Choir and the Academy Orchestra.
Also, I would talk about my very loving and supportive family, with wife Rosalind and my sons Christopher and Andreas.
Q: If we checked your nightstand, what books would we find you reading right now?
Some of them have sat there unopened for a while but I have been working on an autobiography of Riccardo Muti, a book by Peter Conrad called Verdi And/Or Wagner and The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest by Stieg Larsson.
Q: If we checked your computer, what favourite sites would be bookmarked?
Hands down, YouTube as it has to be one of the largest library collections in the world and I am constantly watching concert and opera footage. It’s just an incredible resource. Also, I like reading news articles from the New York Times, the CBC, Globe and Mail, and the Vancouver Sun.
Q: How did you come to do what you do – was there a defining moment you can tell us about?
I was the youngest of four children growing up and all my older siblings studied music so I was constantly surrounded by it. I studied three instruments as a child and sang in a very fine boys choir so I had a pretty solid background. If there was a defining moment, it would have been when I went to Europe for the first time at the age of 16 and attended a music festival in Hungary that exposed me to a lot of contemporary music and exceptional young performers. It was that summer that made me realize that if I was going to go into music it had to be an all or nothing expedition.
Q: When it comes to marketing, is there a particular campaign or a poster, advertisement, or promotion that made a significant impact or that stands out in your mind?
I was very taken by the poster for West Side Story for Vancouver Opera’s production this past fall which I conducted. The use of the W from the Woodwards building was a very clever and relevant touch.
Q: Lastly, what inspires you?
People and ideas inspire me. It is amazing how everyone has special qualities and things that make them tick. Musicians tend to be highly creative and fun people to be around so I really feel like I chose the right path. It’s wonderful to work hard and have great projects to put together… usually there is a fun celebration at the end!