Richmond Symphony director candidate Roderick Cox talks conducting aspirations

Richmond

RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — Offering a vigorous account of Mozart’s Symphony Number 39 in E-flat, Roderick Cox presented a lively showing during a recent performance by the Richmond Symphony at Hardywood in Scott’s Addition.

Cox is one of five candidates vying to be Richmond Symphony’s next music director. 8News sat down with Cox and learned his background is as unique as his talent.

“I think there is a balance between intellect and emotions,” Cox told 8News anchor Constance Jones when asked what goes through his mind when he’s conducting an orchestra. “I am thinking about the sound world of Mozart, make sure the articulation is this way. Then, there are the emotional things you’re trying to figure out. The essence and the character of this music and how you convey that.”

Roderick Cox

Cox is one of a small number of African-American orchestra conductors in the world. He is the first of five music director candidates leading the Symphony in the 2019-20 season after former music director Steven Smith stepped down from the position last season.

“I am very much impressed with the orchestra Richmond has created and cultivated here,” Cox said. “I have to give credit to the community for supporting that.”

Cox has been conducting since graduating from Northwestern’s Masters Conducting Program in 2011. Through his travels across the globe, Cox told 8News he’s witnessed slow changes in the world of classical music.

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“We are seeing a growing number of women and people of color seeing classical music as an avenue,” Cox said. “I think we can see more and more of that if we do specific work in our education system.”

Cox says if he is elected to serve as Richmond Symphony’s next music director, he hopes to use his position to open the doors for children to learn more about the genre.

“We have to do a better job in creating those opportunities and exposure,” Cox said. “I think that is the important part. Then, those people can see themselves on stage and that this is a possibility to enjoy this music and be a part of it.”

The next music director of the Richmond Symphony is expected to be announced in May 2020.

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