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Chatting up the music

Classical Music

Inspiring and accessible. That's Rachael Worby, leader of the Pasadena Pops. And she hopes it's true of their concerts.

July 02, 2006|Diane Haithman | Times Staff Writer

"There was a columnist who wrote a story about his father giving him a BB gun to shoot sparrows, those little brown birds. And the first day he had the gun, he saw this bright yellow bird, and he took aim, and he killed it. His father said to him: 'Why did you do that?'

"That piece was about me. It was about the reaction that one has when one wants to take away the thing that's different. And I think at first, I was different enough."

Though there are more female conductors now, she said, "you superimpose that on first ladies and you'll find that in the history of time, there will not have been a first lady who was a conductor. Doctors, lawyers, schoolteachers, librarians -- extraordinary women all. But conductors?"

Worby still seems to cultivate her difference from the formal image of the orchestra leader. Photos on her website, which she says she included on the advice of friends and colleagues, show her wearing a solemn black pantsuit but barefoot -- in motion, arms outstretched and long hair flying.

Speaking of raising her profile, how would she feel about being considered to succeed Mauceri at the Hollywood Bowl?

"It's a great orchestra. Who would not want to conduct it?" she said. "If the Hollywood Bowl is interested in the approach that I have come to believe in, nothing would make me happier than to work with those musicians."

For Worby, there are no rules except to connect good music with an audience.

"The only thing that would be a 'shouldn't' is that I shouldn't ever not know every single note of the piece that I am conducting," she said. She put a hand to her chest.

"All this that I talk about is from Rachael Central here, which is about music. I am about music. And wanting to make music for as many people as possible."

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Pasadena Pops

Where: Rose Bowl, 1001 Rose Bowl Drive, Pasadena

When: 6:45 p.m. Tuesday

Price: $10; children 5 and under, free

Contact: (213) 480-3232 or www.ticketmaster.com

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