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November 3, 2011 at 12:45 PM

A peek into the PNB orchestra pit

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Seattle Times arts writer Moira Macdonald and I had the pleasure this morning of sitting in on a Pacific Northwest Ballet orchestra rehearsal, led by conductor Emil de Cou, who became PNB musical director earlier this year. The orchestra was practicing for “Love Stories” — a program of excerpts from some of the world’s most romantic ballets — which opens this weekend.

As we recently reported, de Cou was singled out by New York Times critic Alastair Macaulay in October as one of the finest ballet conductors in America.

Word has it PNB’s dancers think highly of the Los Angeles-born conductor, too, partly because of his willingness to adjust tempi to accommodate whoever is dancing lead roles on any given night. Though ballet dancers may be superhuman, de Cou apparently understands that not all of them naturally turn or jump at the superhumanly identical rate.

Read Macdonald’s preview of “Love Stories” here, and look for a review of the program on seattletimes.com next Monday, mid-day.

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