Ending 2020 on a high note with Maestro Eduardo Marturet of the Miami Symphony Orchestra
MISO's longtime director was faced with the challenge of his career when the COVID-19 pandemic shut down live performances. Here, he talks about the importance of togetherness to creativity and his commitment to keep the music playing long into the future—no matter what comes.
At the beginning of 2020, things were going exceptionally well for Maestro Eduardo Marturet, director of the Miami Symphony Orchestra (MISO).
The 2019-2020 season was in full swing, with a host of exciting concerts at the Adrienne Arsht Center and in venues throughout the city. Under his direction, MISO was experimenting with a variety of themes designed to engage new audiences, from family-friendly performances and conceptual shows like "MISO-Senses: The Magic of Synesthesia" to a monthly free concert series.
"We are not at all a conventional orchestra, though I respect and admire many of them," Marturet explains. "We like to experiment, encourage all of our senses to participate in the experience, hear and feel emotions, smells, and colors. That is what's unique about MISO."
Then, last winter, the COVID-19 pandemic struck. Marturet didn't know it at the time, but the March 7 "MISO in the Parks" performance at Doral Park would be the last time in-person audiences could enjoy the orchestra for nearly nine months.
"Like everybody else, Miami Symphony Orchestra had to stop playing in March," Marturet says. "We canceled five concerts and did not play until December 2, when we had the opportunity to do so again with a reduced, smaller orchestra."
In the meantime, the Venezuela-born conductor and composer got busy reinventing the orchestra for these unique times, pivoting to virtual performances and adding recordings of past shows, meet-the-musicians videos, and other digital offerings.
He's also, crucially, continuing to pay his musicians, something he's proud of.
"We are one of the few orchestras in the country that is still paying its musicians," Marturet says. "We are going above and beyond to make ends meet and be there for them."
It hasn't been easy. Marturet knows that musical creativity often depends on being together, something that's just not possible when people are stuck at home.
"Orchestras produce music if their members are together—the piece is created by all its members playing in a synchronized way," he explains. "Without the orchestra, the product, which is the music, would not exist."
But while Marturet looks forward to the eventual return of live performances, complete with a full orchestra and a packed house, MISO's success online has helped him fulfill his mission of bringing music to everyone in the Miami area.
"My motivation is to bring music to as many people as possible, to share the beauty of music, especially in this conflicted and complicated world," he says. "We need to experience more good things and one way is through music. It fills us with good energy."
It's something that has driven him since he joined the orchestra nearly 15 years ago, when he took over from its founding conductor Maestro Manuel Ochoa, who started the organization in 1989. Whatever the future may hold, Marturet remains dedicated to helping his orchestra grow and serve the multicultural community he loves.
"My goal as the conductor of the Miami Symphony Orchestra is to leave an orchestra that will be here for the next 50 years—an orchestra that belongs to Miami's community," Marturet says.
And that's music to the city's ears.