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Cover Article

LET THE MUSIC HAPPEN

From the March 2007 issue of The Christian Science Journal


THE HOUSE LIGHTS DIM and guest conductor walks briskly, but gracefully, to his place at the podium as the audience applauds. Without missing a beat, he lifts his baton, and The New York Pops' "A Holiday Celebration" concert is underway. This weekend event marks Willis's debut at world-renowned Carnegie Hall. And given the big grin on his face, there's nothing else this young guy would rather be doing on a Saturday night.

Earlier in the afternoon, I met with Willis at his hotel in New York, where he chatted enthusiastically about his career. Born in Action, Massachusetts, Willis, whose father was once a foreign correspondent for The Christian Science Monitor, moved with his family to Russia when he was a child. Then, when Willis was ten, the family moved to England. Shortly after, inspired by Haydn's trumpet concerto at a London concert, he took up the trumpet. Later Willis received his undergraduate degree at the University of Bristol, followed by a Master's degree in orchestral conducting from Rice University, in Texas, and launched his professional career as a conductor.

In 2003, following his three-year post as Associate Conductor for the Seattle Symphony, Willis began traveling the world as a full–time guest conductor.

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