"He arrives running in jeans and a sweatshirt with an overwhelming smile: John Axelrod, 45 years, is what you'd call a 'cool' orchestra conductor," begins the American-in-Europe conductor's interview with La Repubblica a couple days ago on the occasion of his current Mahler's 9th set with Milan's excellent La Verdi (that concludes today with the last performance at 4pm -- review forthcoming). The 40-something Maestro is France-based as the MD of Orchestre National des Pays de la Loire, but he's deigned Italy with appearances in the next few months across Naples, Venice, and Modena.
So what does Axelrod think of Italy?:
I come to Italy at least two months per year, it's necessary to regenerate my soul. There's nothing that I don't like about Italy: the art, the food, fashion, music, the women -- And it's your way of living that I love. It seems to me that you guys are different from Americans in that you believe it's about "working to live" and not "living to work".
Yes to all of that!