On Conducting

On Conducting
May 18, 2020 cborelli

On the surface, this might seem like the most obvious chapter in the book. What I plan to consider is a set of Ten Golden Rules penned by Richard Strauss. Many are sarcastic, but some are right on the mark. I have added twenty more rules, ranging in scope from physical gestures to stage deportment.

None of the rules are about actual conducting in terms of baton technique. Instead, I focus on the nature of communication between the orchestra and the maestro. How far can the conductor get using words to convey ideas to the musicians? What about the conductor’s relationship to the board of directors? What do conductors show to the orchestra if they truly don’t like the piece or soloist they are working with?

I am certain that many of you have questions about this delicate balance, and I would love to hear them.

Questions and suggestions (3)

  1. Jeremy 3 months ago

    Say a conductor is engaged to guest conduct a prestigious, august ensemble in a work that the orchestra has a long tradition in performing. That orchestra also has an influential and long-standing music director who has shaped and nurtured this performing tradition. How can this conductor convince this orchestra to perform his/her interpretation, rather than that of the orchestra/the MD of that orchestra?

  2. Virgil Fok Chin Wai 3 months ago

    Greetings from Hong Kong!
    This is Virgil Fok, 20 years old, majoring in saxophone performance. I still remember your concert in Hong Kong, played Tchaikovsky Symphony No.5, with the HKPhil. It was just fascinating!
    I would want to ask you, any advice you can give to young conductors/musicians?

  3. Ian G. Sadler 3 months ago

    ‘Slatkin page 94!’ will be my quick retort if a clari pulls the A/Bb prank on me…(so thanks for that one !)

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