Artslandia sat down with Oregon Symphony cellists MARILYN DE OLIVEIRA and TREVOR FITZPATRICK to chat about this and that. BY SUSANNAH MARS
SUSANNAH MARS: What would you like to wake up to every morning?
MARILYN DE OLIVEIRA: Honestly—and I know it sounds cliché—but, I feel like I’m so blessed already. I live in a great city. I play in an amazing orchestra. I have an amazing husband and a beautiful daughter. I have it all already! The thing at the top of my head is, I would like to see different leadership for our country. If I could wake up to a community that is inspired and committed to working together, to loving one another—I would love to wake up to that.
TREVOR FITZPATRICK: I was just going to talk about maybe a different cup of coffee or something… I enjoy my morning routines. They’re really nice and comfortable. If you know me well, you know that I don’t like change too much. I just like waking up and cooking breakfast, having our daughter run downstairs, get on the counter, and talk to me for twenty minutes while I make breakfast.
SM: If you could pick any generation to grow up in, which would you choose?
TF: It’s tricky. One of my favorite movies is Midnight in Paris.
MDO: I knew you were going to say that.
TF: I really enjoy Paris, especially in the ’20s and the ’30s, which is the time that [Gil Pender, the main character] wanted to go back to. But the idea that movie brings forth is that we always think that past generations were somehow better. I like to think that I would love to live back [then]. But if I [did], would I have liked to live 20 and 30 years before that or 20 and 30 years before that? It’s hard to say.
MDO: Does it have to be a past generation?
SM: I didn’t think about that, but I don’t think it does.
MDO: I mean I just feel like as a woman—a working woman especially—I don’t think that I would choose to go back any further, only because we’ve come such a long way. And I don’t know if I could make myself fit in. So maybe, in my idealistic, hopeful future, where there are truly equal rights… I think I would want to go to the future, actually.
SM: Name someone alive or dead whose biography you would love to write. You would have full access to their life.
MDO: That’s a tough one.
SM: It is, right? I’m just thinking, who is someone that hung out with some really interesting people and maybe has some secrets.
MDO: Ooh, who has some secrets? You know, actually, somebody that comes to mind, somebody that has been inspiring, is Michael Tilson Thomas. When I was in New World Symphony and worked under him, he was such a visionary with everything he did with creating [and developing the New World Symphony]. It’s helped so many of us find our place in the orchestral industry. Also what he’s done with San Francisco Symphony with their season, their movie projects, programming, and his connections. I bet he has a lot of secrets. Also, knowing him somewhat as a person and way off the podium too, he’s a very interesting character, to say the least. I feel like there would be endless stories there. And so much knowledge. I would love to get behind his creative process to know how he came up with all these things, how he had these visions, and how he pursued them and made [them] work, because he’s really changed the music scene a lot.
SM: In what ways?
MDO: I think with his work, mostly with creating the New World Symphony, bringing all this talent together, and creating a space where people really push themselves to be the best they can be for the orchestral world. Not to be soloists or anything, but…
SM: That’s a whole other animal: to be a member of an organism.
MDO: Right…You have to be so great, but you also have to row with the other[s]. We work as a team. I think he’s just shaped all of that. [Also] his videos of the Mahler symphonies, bringing that kind of music into people’s homes.
TF: I was going go a different direction. I know a lot of books have been written about these guys, but I’m always inspired by the founding fathers of this country. Guys like Benjamin Franklin. I always like to pick up his biographies and read about his life—where he’s gone, the places he’s seen, and what he’s done. His mind would be just an interesting thing to pick. If I could sit down in a room with someone like that…talk about inspiration! He had to create so much; he created so many things in this country that most people don’t even know. And how did he come up with these ideas? How does his mind work? Those are the things that fascinate me, and I’d love to learn a little bit more about that.
Condensed for print. Full Adventures in Artslandia interview here.