Roderick Cox

Elbphilharmonie Innerview: Roderick Cox

For a universal right to music – The American conductor talks about the personal and social importance of music.

The series: Innerviews

Inwards – in the »Elbphilharmonie Innerviews«, artists explore the Elbphilharmonie in their own unique ways, letting their thoughts run free. The result: special insights into the spaces of the concert hall and a rare opportunity to get to know the artists personally beyond the stage.

»By involving every individual and sharing the music with one another, we can turn the concert halls into a place of refuge and a safe haven for everyone who comes through its doors.« People who know him will soon realise that Roderick Cox is not only expressing his artistic intentions here, but an entire approach to life. The American conductor says in the Innerview that he wants to »open doors instead of building walls«.

The Elbphilharmonie’s »Innerviews« series is supported by our Principal Sponsor Julius Bär.

From dream to reality :Innerview with Roderick Cox

If someone had told him as a child that he would appear on the world's major concert platforms one day, that he would be a role model and have the opportunity to give people a chance, he wouldn't have believed them. »Growing up as I did in a household with a single parent, where access to classical music training wasn't really possible, it never occurred to me that I could become a professional conductor one day,« says Georgia native Roderick Cox. But against all obstacles, the young man managed to get a place at the college of music in Columbus. »Music found me where I was and took me to where I am today« – thus the modest comment of the conductor, who has settled in Berlin in the meantime.

He wants to pass on to others the good fortune that he had himself: a few years ago he founded the Roderick Cox Music Initiative to support talented young Afro-American musicians, paying for their instruments and for them to take music lessons and attend intensive summer camps.

Roderick Cox Roderick Cox © Daniel Dittus

»My musical journey is my life’s journey.«

Bringing people together

As a conductor and musician, too, he has a strong sense of social responsibility: »Classical music is not just an art form that we should feel comfortable with, it should also inspire us to think along social lines, to expose injustice, demand our liberty and bring people together.«

A word about the Elbphilharmonie? »One of the world's great beacons for art« – a fine compliment for the concert hall by the Elbe, which he sees as a true »magnet«. Cox also feels a special connection with the city of Hamburg – after all, it is the birthplace of his favourite composer, Johannes Brahms.

Searching for encounters :About Roderick Cox

As the winner of the prestigious Sir Georg Solti International Conducting Competition, Roderick Cox conquered the world's top concert venues some years ago. Since then, he has been one of today's sought-after conductors. He is constantly searching for exchange, both artistic and human, with other cultures: »I believe that such encounters intensify my musical voice and enable me to say something that is more meaningful.«

Roderick Cox
Roderick Cox © Daniel Dittus

Roderick Cox last appeared at the Elbphilharmonie with the large-scale concert project »Song of America: A Celebration of Black Music«, which is dedicated to Afro-American music culture. The concert where he conducted the Deutsche Kammerphilharmonie Bremen, Thomas Hampson and other leading vocalists is available to stream in our mediatheque until June 2022. Highlights from the concert can also be heard in the Innerview, namely extracts from William Dawson's »Negro Folk Symphony«.

Roderick Cox Roderick Cox © Daniel Dittus
Roderick Cox Roderick Cox © Daniel Dittus
Roderick Cox Roderick Cox © Daniel Dittus
Roderick Cox Roderick Cox © Daniel Dittus
Roderick Cox Roderick Cox © Daniel Dittus

text: Julika von Werder; last updated: 23.08.2021

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