Andrew Litton was weaned on music: his parents were passionate music lovers, his godfather, Richard Horowitz, was and still is principal timpanist at the Met. He grew up watching the great and good of opera from the Met pit. When Litton was six he saw Leonard Bernstein in action at one of his celebrated concerts for young people and from that experience there was no turning back. A photo exists of the teenage Litton standing shoulder to shoulder (or thereabouts) with Dmitri Shostakovich and once he’d graduated from Julliard he developed his craft as assistant to the great Mstislav Rostropovich at the National Symphony Orchestra in Washington.
On the eve of the Bergen Philharmonic’s extensive tour of Sweden, Germany, and Austria, the ever-entertaining Litton talks to Edward Seckerson about his pride in the orchestra and his plans for their future. He talks about his passion for English and American music, about coaxing his players in the ways of swing (things swing a little differently in the fjords), and the long process of learning to play “without a foreign accent”.