Lockhart loves work at Brevard Music Center

Keith Lockhartcitizen-times.com

BREVARD — Conductor Keith Lockhart keeps a crazy schedule leading the Boston Pops and the BBC Concert Orchestra and playing guest dates with other groups.

But part of his summer is spent at Brevard Music Center, where he was once a student and is now artistic adviser of the music program.

“Honestly, it’s the most inspirational thing that I do each year,” said Lockhart. “I know that I’m not the only person who thinks that. There is something here that reinvigorates you. It wakes you and reminds you of why we do this in the first place. The successes that we have here are more satisfying than any that we have had on the stage.”

Lockhart has become one of America’s top conductors. He joined the Boston Pops in 1995, just the 20th conductor in that orchestra’s history.

On the Fourth of July, he led the Pops in a rousing performance in Boston on the Charles River, the first big public event there since the terrorist bombings earlier this year.

The city has greatly recovered since that dark time, he said. “Just the fact that we had the concert was a statement” against terrorism, he said.

A native of Poughkeepsie, N.Y., Lockhart was a student at BMC in the early 1970s. He studied at nearby Furman University in Greenville, S.C., and his parents, Marilyn and Newton Lockhart, have long lived in Brevard.

Lockhart’s jam-packed schedule means that he can play Brevard dates only a handful of times during the season. His final performances this season are Aug. 2 and 4 during closing weekend.

But he takes what he has used with the Pops and elsewhere and applies it to the BMC program. “The goals are different” at Brevard, he said. “We hope the audience will love it, but here we think about what the students will get out of the experience.”

When he’s in town, it’s mostly for business. But he has found time to pop over to visit his parents. “Not as much as they would like,” he said.

“They are very patient and say, ‘Call us when you can.’ This is as much home as anywhere is.”