Not long ago, it would have been hard to imagine Miami as a destination recognized for its fine arts community, but Maestro Eduardo Marturet has crafted a different vision for the Miami Symphony Orchestra (MISO), putting the organization on a new path towards global recognition.
Make no mistake, Marturet is no novice. His career trajectory expands over three different continents while still remaining deeply involved in the music scene of his native Venezuela. The political and humanitarian crisis in the country brought him to MISO 15 years ago and he has now made Miami his home, crafting a vision for the city’s fine arts community.
It is this effort that garnered him a prestigious induction into the Genius 100 community, a global organization that seeks to bring together individuals from all over the world who are committed to promoting change and creating a positive impact on humanity and in their communities. The recognition puts him alongside some of the world’s brightest change agents, including 12 Nobel Laureates and the creator of TED, to name a few.
We sat down with the Maestro to learn more about what it means to be chosen as part of the Genius 100, what his vision for the MISO is and why he chose Miami as his home.
Q. How did you end up becoming MISO’s conductor?
A. I was living all around the world. I would be between Europe, Asia and Venezuela. One day, the Director of the Miami Symphony Orchestra, the Master Manuel Ochoa, called me with an offer. He was looking to retire, he was older and wanted someone to take over. At first, I was hesitant. Miami had always been a city where I vacationed; I never thought of Miami as a place that could become my home. Miami did not use to be what it is right now. However, I fell in love with the orchestra and the project. Even though it was a monumental task, that would require a lot of hard work and time, I took the job. I had to transform the orchestra into a professional one.
Fourteen years ago, it was a great community orchestra. But, due to its members, it was not a professional one. I had to bring in professional musicians, implement a more demanding programming, and invest more funds. I made a commitment to Manuel Ochoa. Maestro Ochoa passed away soon after I took over the orchestra.
Q. What’s your mission and vision for MISO in Miami?
A. I want the MISO to be something that Miami owns. I want it to become an intrinsic part of the community. The orchestra has to be a reflection of Miami’s energy and because of that, MISO is a very unique compared to any other orchestra across the country. We have a completely different repertoire that embodies the city. You will find us playing Beethoven and music by Celia Cruz as well; we bring together classical music and do cross overs with other types of music. This initially shocks people, but it is also what draws them in. We strive to play music that has never been played before in this type of setting and we have been extremely successful because of it.
Classical music and orchestras are tied to this idea of intellectualism that can be dangerous because it can alienate a lot of people.
I want to attract new and different audiences and make them realize that classical music is just as beautiful as popular music and expose them to a whole new world. I want MISO to become a part of the city and offer young talent the opportunity to showcase their abilities. I want to focus on the talent and what Miami’s youth has to offer. If it weren’t for MISO, many of these young musicians wouldn’t have the ability to reach their potential.
Q. In your fifteen years with MISO, what has been your biggest achievement?
A. The city has really embraced us which has been a tough achievement because Miami is a city with a diverse, but very particular community. I always say Miami is the closest city to the United States. In a way, it has become the red-headed stepchild of both hemispheres and sometimes, we forget what we stand for. But the MISO seems to be something that has helped to bridge that gap and the people here have welcomed us with open arms.
Q. How do you see the future of arts and culture in Miami?
A. The future depends on Miamians. Unfortunately, the funds the state allocates towards arts and culture don’t even cover twenty to thirty percent of what is really needed. Don’t get me wrong, the orchestra receives a lot of money, but it is still not enough. If the people of Miami want their city to become a global center for the arts, they will have to show their support and take action. As a non-profit organization, it is the job of the City and its community to foster and care for it, as well as any other organization that works towards improving and protecting arts and culture in the community.
As we continue to grow and evolve, I have faith that the community will understand the importance of the work we do and what we offer. The future belongs to our children, and like anything else, it is up to us to decide the type of city and community we want to build for them.
We are proud to have this gem in our backyard and look forward to the many things the MISO has in store for the community. You can catch concerts from the MISO at Palm Court as part of the Miami Design District Performance Series and other events around town.
To learn more about the Miami Symphony Orchestra visit www.themiso.org.