Conductors, these days especially, have to be more than musicians. They are advocates, teachers and, in a substantive way, cheerleaders for the art form. Vladimir Jurowski, who guest conducts the Philadelphia Orchestra this week, has a couple of charismatic gifts unseen by the public during his previous visits here.
In this clip (from 2003) of him speaking about Die Fledermaus, he not only proves an elegant pianist, but also an insightful thinker. It's clear Jurowski is a conductor who makes interpretive choices based on clues in the score and deep consideration. Listen to five minutes of what he has to say about Fledermaus and you'll never hear the piece the same way again.
Jurowski leads the orchestra Thursday, Friday and Saturday in Stravinsky's Scherzo Fantastique, the Tchaikovsky Violin Concerto with the astonishing young violinist Sergey Khachatryan and one of the lesser-heard symphonies of Prokofiev, the No. 4.