Jan 302013

By Bill DeYoung, Entertainment Editor, January 22, 2005

Michael Rose compares his relationship with Donald Trump to that of composer George Frederic Handel and his Viennese patron, Prince Esterhazy.

“This was in the 1790s,” says Rose, the Stuart-based musician and band leader who’ll lead an orchestra at Donald Trump’s wedding reception today at the Mar-a-Lago resort in Palm Beach.

“Prince Esterhazy hired Handel as his court conductor, and they would confer daily on the music of the day,” Rose explains.

The Michael Rose Orchestra has been in residence at Mar-a-Lago for a decade. “This is the court of Donald Trump,” says Rose, 66. “And he has musical events continuously, everything from serious music to Broadway entertainers to big bands.”

Rose, whose instrument of choice is the trumpet, was approached by Trump’s fiancee, Melania Knauss, and asked to assemble a lush, romantic ensemble to play at the dinner and reception in Mar-a-Lago’s ornate Grand Ballroom.

Rose will conduct a 36-piece string orchestra, with piano and drums.

“They’d seen the orchestra many times,” says Rose’s wife Sandra, the group’s manager. “In fact, I was there the first time she came to Mar-a-Lago.”

“I think the most memorable occasion was when we provided the full 35 pieces, with strings, for Frank Sinatra Jr. in 2002. I think she and Mr. Trump both enjoyed it. The orchestra was particularly stunning that night.”

For today’s program, Rose has arranged several hours American standards, all with a “love” theme, along with classical melodies by Handel, Vivaldi, Bach, Brahms and others.

Michael Rose can’t put his finger on whatever it is Trump likes about him. “From what I have observed over the years,” he says, “I think he likes anything that is done well. It’s as simple as that.”

“When he first engaged us to play there, in 1995, he said, ‘My membership likes you. I like you. You’re it.'”

“Not ‘you’re fired,’ but ‘you’re hired.'”

bill [dot] deyoung [at] scripps [dot] com