N.C. Symphony associate conductor Sarah Hicks originally planned to spend some time in the Triangle conducting over the Fourth of July. Instead, she'll be in Europe conducting Sting's 30-date "Symphonicity" tour.
It's a high-profile gig, but also something of a logistical nightmare. The score is complex, and up to 17 different orchestras will play it in different cities on the tour.
"It's incredibly complicated and on the fly, but that's how it operates," said Hicks, who is in Raleigh this weekend to conduct the N.C. Symphony's performances with the band Pink Martini. "It plays to my personal strengths. I enjoy conducting and also figuring stuff out. It keeps my brain occupied."
Hicks came to Sting's attention via trumpeter Chris Botti, after they worked together with the Minnesota Orchestra a few years back. Negotiations to conduct a Sting tour of Russia last year fell through when the tour's "Russian mob financier" disappeared, Hicks said.
Hicks met Sting a few weeks ago in New York City.
"He was incredibly laid-back," she said. "His voice sounds exactly like what you hear on the records. It was a beautiful day in New York, and when he saw me to the door he asked what it was like outside. 'It's 65 degrees, get your ass outside,' I said. He laughed and confessed that as an Englishman, he prefers chilly and rainy."