Rising Baton
January 2006—Encore Atlanta, p. 8
By Nick Jones, ASO Program Annotator

As she does when talking about most things musical, Laura Jackson brims with enthusiasm about her recent opportunity to conduct the powerhouse Philadelphia Orchestra. In a read-through of the Brahms Symphony No. 1, she says, "I took a slower tempo than I've ever done with anything in my life, just because I was loving it!"

The opportunity came at a workshop organized by the American Symphony Orchestra League for Ms. Jackson and some of her colleagues, all ASOL Conducting Fellows placed at various American orchestras. It's just one of many activities keeping the budding maestra busy during her three-year appointment with the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra.

She's essentiall an assistant conductor, planning and conducting the popular Symphony 360 series and the Discover and Next Generation concerts for young people, covering Classical Series concerts in case the scheduled conductor can't go on, and leading numerous out-of-town and parks concerts.

This month brings her first concerts on the Classical Series. Mindful of this important Mozart year, the 250th anniversary of the composer's birth, she has selected a varied all-Mozart program consisting of an opera overture, a symphony, and two piano concertos.

When she conducts, Ms. Jackson tends to lose herself in the musical moment, as she told Judith Schonbak in an interview for the October 2005 issue of Atlanta Woman: "When I stand on the podium, there is noting in my mind or being but the sound of the first note.... That's the place where the music is flowing through and I am a conduit. I am all about the music."

Laura Jackson is undoubtedly a very special talent, a rising conductor on her way to doing great things. The ASO couldn't be prouder to have her on its conducting staff at this early stage in her career.

Copyright 2006 Atlanta Symphony Orchestra