Andrew Massey


Andrew Massey

I was born and grew up in Nottingham, England, to a non-musical family. I wanted to be a composer from an early age. Studied (ha!) at Oxford University and turned down the Guildhall Graduate Conductor's course in order to do an MA in analysis of contemporary composition techniques (Lutoslawski and Berio) in Nottingham. I lived in London for about 10 years, teaching, conducting, composing. Conducting arose out of composing - out of taking charge of performances of my own music. But it's easier conducting other stuff - you get to work with a better class of music and there is no need to compose!

In 1978 I moved to the USA as Assistant Conductor of The Cleveland Orchestra with Lorin Maazel. I have lived and worked as a conductor mainly in the USA since then. I met my wife, Sabra, at the Cleveland Orchestra. We have been married 25 years and have two children. A son in the Peace Corps in Africa, and a daughter who is a senior at Bennington College. We live in the north of Vermont, far away from all orchestra boards and administrations.

I have held staff positions in Cleveland, San Francisco, Milwaukee, New Orleans; Music Directorships in Rhode Island, Fresno, Toledo, Oregon Mozart Players, Michigan Chamber Orchestra, Racine Symphony. I have guest conducted in lots of places.

I sort of gave up conducting in 2002 through burnout, politics, and discontent, but didn't quite stop. I took time to write several compositions, and am now re-engaging with conducting as a focus.

I am also much interested in philosophy, especially as arising from Karl Popper, and have spoken at several conferences on that. I think it is important, as philosophical errors lie at the basis of many problems in music, such as the debacle of 'new music', the self-generating antipathy towards conductors and the equally puzzling adulation of them by audiences, and that whole crucial question as to "whom are we playing FOR?"

Discussion Panels with Andrew Massey:

The Short End of the Stick
11/26/07 - 11/30/07