Thursday, March 27, 2008

Classical Music Spring Fashion Show - Part 2 (BIG Hair)

In Part 1 of this potentially never-ending 'classical music fashion' exposé, I referenced Herbert von Karajan's white, shiny beacon of hair, and Evgeny Kissin's embarrassing disco 'fro. Apparently, Karajan had an assistant hold a brush offstage at every concert so he could tend to his prized sculpture between pieces. Let us continue to admire the revolting 'dos within classical music, this time exclusively conductors.

Perhaps conductors today are inspired by one of the first great baton-wielders caught on film, Arthur Nikisch. He had a cute part and dashing mustache, to be sure. While contemporary conductors can't match Nikisch's facial hair, they certainly outdo him. (I'll go with that pun, though originally unintended.) Let's take a look at just a few examples, spanning the continents:

Japanese Seiji Ozawa (Wow.)

American James Levine (I think Kissin's got him, but just barely)

Italian Riccardo Muti (with bangs that rival Nikisch's)

27-year-old Venezuelan Gustavo Dudamel: the younger generation carries the torch. See the link for a gushing NYT article.

Pop parallel: Kenny G?

And how about jazz icon Pat Metheny (seen in a common, intimate moment with his guitar)? Though obviously approving of his hair, Metheny purportedly spoke out against G for his version of "What a Wonderful World" in which he superimposes his own sounds over Louis Armstrong recordings (see/hear video above).

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