"Conducting an orchestra for the first time is like going on a blind date. As soon as the music starts you know if it's going to work out or not."
OCCUPATION Conductor and music director of the Fort Worth Symphony Orchestra and the Auckland Philharmonia
HOME BASES Fort Worth, Texas, and Auckland, New Zealand
FACE THE MUSIC The 36-year-old Peruvian-born, American-trained maestro made his Cologne debut with three sold-out concerts at the Philharmonie (1 Bischofsgartenstrasse; 49-221/280-280; www.koelner-philharmonie.de). "It is a modern, intimate hall that's high rather than deep, so you feel the audience all around you."
EAT AND RUN Rehearsals took up most of the day, so what little exploring Harth-Bedoya did was on foot. "My most memorable dining experiences were sausages, pancakes, and pastries I bought on the street," he says. "I also sampled the city's Kölsch ale at the old brewery Frueh am Dom [12-14 Am Hof; 49-221/261-3211]."
ON A HIGH NOTE "The enormous Kölner Dom, the Gothic cathedral that inspired the fourth movement of Schumann's 'Rhenish' Symphony, dominates the skyline," he recalls. "Seeing it with Chinese pianist Lang Lang was an amusing juxtaposition of cultures, traditions, and epochs, brought about by the universal language of music."
NEXT UP Harth-Bedoya is anticipating the fall release of his latest CD (Decca).