Preview “Tavis Smiley Reports”

Originally aired on December 13, 2010
Guest interviews are usually available online within 24 hours of broadcast.

Tavis previews the upcoming primetime special Tavis Smiley Reports ‘Dudamel: Conducting a Life.’

For the third Tavis Smiley Reports primetime special, Tavis travels to Louisiana's Crescent City. Entitled "New Orleans: Been in the Storm Too Long," the episode comes out of an ongoing collaboration with Oscar-winning director Jonathan Demme that began in '06 when Tavis Smiley aired Demme's documentary "Right to Return" as a weeklong series. Tavis talks with some of the Big Easy's residents about life in the city five years after Hurricane Katrina, including educators, activists, musicians Branford Marsalis and Lenny Kravitz, Treme stars John Goodman and Wendell Pierce and newly-elected Mayor Mitch Landrieu. The hour-long special premieres July 21, at 8pm/7pm Central.


Tavis: On December 29th I hope you will join me in primetime right here on most of these PBS stations for the fourth installment of “Tavis Smiley Reports.” This next one-hour special is called “Dudamel: Conducting a Life” and centers around the extraordinary passion and talent of famed conductor Gustavo Dudamel.
As the conductor of the L.A. Philharmonic, Dudamel has become the biggest star in the classical world. He is also an advocate for bringing sheet music and classical music instruction to young people all across this country. He’s just one of the many high-profile leaders of this growing movement.
Here now, a preview of “Dudamel: Conducting a Life.”
[Begin video clip]
“Gustavo Dudamel:” Let’s do it together, but don’t feel that it’s a car crash, you know? You know, that one is stopping, the rest is going (makes noise) with one behind each other, okay? I have to feel pretty natural out there so I know that I’m doing a four – uncomfortable four, but that’s life.” (Laughter)
“Tavis Smiley:” Spend any time with Gustavo Dudamel and his delight in what he does is oh, so evident.
As busy as you are, are you still having fun these days?
“Gustavo Dudamel:” Completely. You know, you need to have every day a little piece of fun. This is very important, because, of course, I love to work, and this is – and I don’t see the music as work.
“Tavis Smiley:” You can see it in the way he approaches the orchestra before a particularly difficult rehearsal. Or when he talks about the concerts that are planned for those who work at Disney Hall – everyone from the parking attendants to the food service providers.
“Gustavo Dudamel:” I love the people of the parking, everything. We did last season open rehearsals and concert for them, because they don’t have the opportunity –
“Tavis Smiley:” Oh, the people in the building.
“Gustavo Dudamel:” Uh-huh.
“Tavis Smiley:” Oh, how cool. That’s your idea?
“Gustavo Dudamel:” So because – yes, because it’s like (laughter) I think it’s something –
“Tavis Smiley:” That’s such a great idea.
“Gustavo Dudamel:” It’s something very important, you know? Hey, how are you?
“Tavis Smiley:” You also see it in meetings with L.A. Philharmonic president Deborah Border and vice president for artistic planning, Chad Smith.
“Deborah Border:” Let’s do some work.
“Gustavo Dudamel:” Yes.
“Tavis Smiley:” In this particular meeting they’re discussing a groundbreaking initiative called Theater Cast, which will put live simulcast L.A. Phil concerts in movie theaters across the country.
“Deborah Border:” One of the things that we think would be fun would be to have a sort of backstage pass so people follow you with cameras while you’re backstage. Not everyplace.
“Gustavo Dudamel:” Okay, thank you very much. (Laughter) I was thinking, like, “Everywhere?”
“Deborah Border:” No, not everywhere. (Laughter) But many places.
“Gustavo Dudamel:” Okay.
“Deborah Border:” But then the other part, if we could set up cameras after the show so that people in, say, Chicago, Bismarck, North Dakota, could actually be hooked up and ask you questions about the performance.
“Gustavo Dudamel:” I that is wonderful. I think it’s very important, because they can feel that they are part of that. It’s not that they are far and they are listening to something, if not that they have the connection there.
Oh, my God, it’s so tragic that we’re giving off this note. (Makes noise)
“Tavis Smiley:” But you see his joy the most when he is with children.
“Gustavo Dudamel:” (Humming) Oh, my God, what happened to me? But then when we arrive to this moment (humming) it’s the first time that we have hope.
[End video clip]
Tavis: Whether you’re a fan of classical music or not, Gustavo Dudamel is a fascinating subject who has brought a rock star sensibility to the normally button-down world of classical music.
“Dudamel: Conducting a Life,” airs right here on most of these PBS stations on Wednesday, December 29th, at 8:00 p.m.
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Last modified: April 26, 2011 at 12:28 pm