Stefan Sanderling is Honored with the Kilenyi Medal of Honor
A Report by Society Secretary, John F. Berky
Since 2004, Stefan Sanderling, the Music Director of the Toledo (Ohio) Symphony Orchestra has been gradually working his way through the canon of Bruckner's Symphonies at that city's acoustically resplendent Rosary Cathedral. As of 2012, he has conducted Symphonies 3-9. For personal and logistical reasons, plans for a performance of the Symphony No. 2 this year were postponed and the Symphony No. 3 was given again. For his performance, Sanderling chose the 1889 Nowak edition with certain elements of the 1877 edition added. The concert was dedicated to Stefan's father, Kurt Sanderling, the world famous conductor who passed away recently.
The Board of Directors of the Bruckner Society of America took note of this cycle and marveled that a city the size of Toledo would pursue such a project when the only US orchestras to have done so earlier have been the Chicago Symphony (with both Solti and Barenboim), the Minnesota Orchestra (under Stanislaw Skrowaczewski) and the New York Philharmonic (over fifty years ago with several conductors).
The Board voted unanimously to award the Julio Kilenyi Medal of Honor to Stefan Sanderling and the presentation was scheduled with the orchestra to take place on April 15th when the annual Bruckner / Rosary Cathedral concert was to be performed.
I travelled to Toledo by train to make the presentation. Train travel in the US is not as popular in the United States since train service is not up to the standards available in other countries. Back in the 1930s through 50s, the auto industry in the US did a remarkable job in dismantling the American mass rail and light rail systems. An intricate interstate highway system was built and Americans became highly reliant on automobile travel. Only in recent years have some municipalities and state governments started on the re-design of intercity light rail and the Amtrak system will hopefully follow suit. Rail travel in the US can be wonderful but there are areas where the service is spotty and infrequent connections slow passenger progress. In this case, the price was right and I was up for the overnight rides to and from Toledo.
Robert Bell, the Past President & CEO of the Toledo Symphony served as my host. He was good enough to pick me up at the train station at 6AM and take me to his home where I had time to refresh and catch up on some sleep. We arrived at the Cathedral at 3PM and made plans for the presentation with Orchestra President & CEO, Kathleen Carroll. The concert was wonderful. The long acoustic delay in the cathedral dictated a leisurely tempo. Immediately after the conclusion of the Symphony, I was ushered to the podium where I was introduced and the award was presented to Maestro Sanderling before a very appreciative and supportive audience.
After a dinner reception at the home of an orchestra benefactor, I was returned to the train station for the return overnight trip back to Connecticut via Washington, DC.
My thanks go out to Bob Bell, the staff of the Toledo Symphony Orchestra and the orchestra's patrons for making my visit so comfortable. And I offer my congratulations, once again to Maestro Sanderling for his advocacy, artistry and leadership.
Attached are some pictures and other mementos from the event.
|Concert Program Material|
|Photos from the Presentation|