On Music Directors

On Music Directors
June 22, 2020 cborelli

Over the course of more than forty years, I have been the head of three orchestras in the United States. Being a music director is very different from just coming in for a week or two and leading programs as a guest.

The art of running a musical organization has changed dramatically over the last half-century. In the past, the music director was an autocrat, given to outbursts and tantrums that were considered part of the job. In this chapter, I discuss how things are today, with the musicians themselves taking on more responsibility for decision-making.

Aside from wondering what we do, what do you think the role of the music director in our times should be?

Question or suggestion (1)

  1. anonymous 2 weeks ago

    Hi Leonard, Hope you and Cindy are doing well. Here is my thought (for whatever it is worth) on the question of “the role of music director in our times should be”.

    An advocate for the health, growth and expansion of symphonic music. Too often, today, I find boards and orchestra administrators talk about how great a music director is based on how well she/he can fundraise, connect with patrons and donors, etc. This is all well and in fact badly needed, given today’s financial realities vis-a-vis fundraising and resources; however, the focus must always return to the art form and whether a music director is able to set a long term (strategic) artistic vision for the orchestra and his/her ability to implement that vision, thereby ensuring that the ensemble is performing “musically” at its best.

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