Since 1999, Fabio Mechetti has led the Jacksonville Symphony Orchestra as music director and principal conductor. Last year, Mechetti announced that the 2013-2014 season would be his last. Soon, he’ll be splitting his time between Ponte Vedra and Brazil, where he’ll act as music director and principal conductor of the Minas Gerais Philharmonic. Despite several decades being surrounded by brass and woodwinds, Mechetti says he hasn’t tired of it yet. In fact, it seems he’s as passionate about music as ever.
• Mechetti says that some of his biggest accomplishments are presiding over the Symphony’s first commercial recording, Orff’s Carmina Burana, and introducing fullly staged operas to local audiences. “I believe that my tenure with the Jacksonville Symphony was marked by exploring a very wide repertoire that covered all periods and styles possible.”
• Though sad to leave Jacksonville, Mechetti welcomes the opportunity to work with a new orchestra in Brazil. “The Minas Gerais started in February 2008 and since then it has grown considerably. Today we have sold-out concerts and have toured nationally and internationally. I hope that this project will continue to get the support it deserves, to make music a relevant and consistent part of the community.”
• Mechetti says he rarely listens to music at home. “Music is part of my life constantly, but I also value silence whenever I can get it. I must confess though that when I choose to listen to music it will be classical, because I believe that life is too short to waste time listening to bad music, reading empty books or watching superficial movies. There is too much good stuff out there to be explored and we should all strive to experience it.”
• When he’s not conducting, Mechetti likes to play golf, travel with his family and enjoy a dinner out. “I definitely like to eat, especially after concerts. One of my favorites Downtown is bb’s, a place that has great food and stays open late.”
• Even with the popularity of MP3s, iPods and YouTube, Mechetti says classical music is still as relevant as ever. “What has changed is society, its preferences, its foundation, its values… I always say that the function of the arts is to help the emancipation process of society, from wherever we are at the moment, to a better position in the future. The great challenge for cultural organizations is to fulfill this mission without compromising integrity in order to merely survive. Classical music, as well as other ‘classics,’ are still here and vibrant, because through time and through periods of turbulence, they have not been compromised.”