Also, check out this great quote toward the end of the interview!
Hilary: “…In Schoenberg [his concerto] I find the first step is just getting people familiar with the notes, and that takes time and it’s a lot of work. It’s tricky for everyone. And then it’s really important to take the academic out of it. You’re supposed to do that from the start, but it’s kind of scary to try to do all of that at once. A lot of people prefer in the rehearsal process to tackle one thing at a time. Then you really try to sort of make it be almost Brahmsian in some ways, like Stravinsky or Shostakovich in others. Not that it is that music, every composer stands on his or her own. But it’s not acceptable to play any composers in an academic way, including Schoenberg.
Laurie: Is it a piece that’s built on tone rows?
Hilary: I don’t care. I really don’t look at things from that perspective. It doesn’t matter how a melody is constructed, it’s still a melody. It doesn’t matter whether a structural element is there because a composer woke up with it from a dream, or they sat down and mapped it out. It doesn’t really matter. That’s all in the music, and it’s all there to be interpreted. People draw their inspiration from different areas, and whatever helps them express what they want to express musically should not be the determining factor for how it’s interpreted.
Our idea of melody is really quite random. Just because we’ve been trained from birth to think of some things as melodies doesn’t mean that they have any more right to be called a melody than anything else we’re less familiar with. If you played tone rows for little kids, they would start humming them. The first things they hum are very structural elements that go into the traditional melodies.
If you take all emotional bias out, everything has equal musical importance.