Like/Dislike with Andrew Grams, 'Nutcracker' maestro

Andrew Grams.
Andrew Grams.(Masataka Suemitsu)

Since graduating from the Curtis Institute of Music with a degree in conducting, Andrew Grams, now 36, has built quite a career for himself in the world of classical music.

The Severn native and Baltimore School for the Arts alum has traveled the globe conducting concerts for some of the most prestigious orchestras in the world. But this work is old hat to Grams, who conducted his first concert when he was 17. The 2013-2014 season marks Gram's first year as the music director of the Elgin (Ill.) Symphony Orchestra.


Now Grams has returned to town to conduct the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra and the BSA in their performances of "The Nutcracker" (Friday-Sunday at the Lyric, 140 W. Mount Royal Ave). Before Grams whips his baton around, he spoke with us about what makes good television, why reality TV needs to go, and his favorite scene in Tchaikovsky's masterpiece.

Worst pet peeve? Complete laziness.


What song/songs are you loving/hating right now? Loving "Nutcracker," because it is what I'm thinking about at the moment!

Last concert/gig you went to? I conducted six concerts in different cities around the southern part of Holland.

Your worst habit? Procrastination.

Trend that has exceeded its natural lifespan? "Reality" TV. The curtain has been drawn on these shows.

Last movie you liked/disliked? Last Christmas, my family went to see "Jack Reacher." It wasn't a hit!

TV shows you can't get enough of? "30 Rock," "Breaking Bad," "Arrested Development," "Homeland." The quality of all the components (writing, acting, production, etc.) is of such a high level that I continue to appreciate these shows no matter how many times I've watched them.

Favorite fashion statement? I appreciate a properly fitted suit.

Favorite place to get a drink in Baltimore? It all has changed so much over the years, I can't really say anymore. I loved getting a coffee from Donna's when I was at BSA.

Favorite place you've traveled to for work? New Zealand. It's the most beautiful country I've ever been to.

Best advice you ever got? Never assume.

Favorite piece to conduct? I love conducting waltzes; they make me move in ways that bring me close to actual dancing ... which is something I do not do.

Favorite scene in "The Nutcracker"? The transitional music in Act I between the battle scene and the waltz of the snowflakes. If you listen to it, you'll know why.


Favorite thing about Baltimore? It feels like home.


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