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Tags: Conductors

More on Dallas

0 Robert Levine

One of the things that mystified me about the Dallas situation was the involvement of the NLRB; generally disputes between the union and management over contract administration are handled through the grievance arbitration process. Not this one, apparently: The union intervened after a January incident in which DSO management suspended without pay an associate principal

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Newsflash: conductor doesn’t like unions

3 Robert Levine

In this week’s edition of The New Yorker (paywalled, unfortunately) is a fascinating piece by Alex Ross on Iván Fischer, the Hungarian conductor and founder of the Budapest Festival Orchestra. While the piece focuses largely on his unhappiness with the current rightward lurch of Hungarian politics, Ross also reports on Fischer’s views on the orchestra

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(Re)Envisioning the Orchestra: An Interview with Eric Jacobsen, Conductor and Founding Cellist of The Knights

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If you have been visiting Polyphonic.org over the past couple of months, you’ve probably seen the announcement of the Paul R. Judy Center for Applied Research that has been established as part of the Eastman School of Music’s Institute for Music Leadership. More specifically Center is now part of the Orchestra Musicians Forum and its

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Note to Conductors: Your Hand Motions Make No Sound

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For the past month or so musicians in the orchestra world have been buzzing about Roberto Minczuk, the Music Director of the Brazilian Symphony Orchestra (Rio de Janeiro, Brazil).  It seems, at his urging, the orchestra management has decided to re-audition every member of the orchestra. You can imagine the outrage that this decision has

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Cry me a river

1 Robert Levine

It must be that overwhelming wave of affection that greets them when they come to work every day: The sudden death of Jean-Marc Cochereau, the French conductor, has prompted the very readable music writer Norman Lebrecht to issue a warning about the health hazards of conducting. M Cochereau collapsed and died from cardiac arrest on

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Baltimore and Alsop Might Be On To Something

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In my February 1, 2010 blog I wrote about the Baltimore Symphony’s plans for a  fantasy camp, (my words) for adults, and how the amateur musicians would be working with the pros of the orchestra.  It is the brainchild of Marin Alsop and apparently it has legs.  Two hundred fifty amateur musicians, now called “Rusty

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The Cult of Youth

2 Robert Levine

Mathew Gurewitsch had an interesting article the other day in the New York Times on The Cult of Youth: IN the world of the contemporary symphony orchestra, youth is not so much a stage of life as it is a battle cry. Youth orchestras! Young conductors! At times it begins to seem that nothing else

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Klemp, you talka too muich

0 Robert Levine

That was the punch line of what is likely an apocryphal story about an interaction between the great German conductor Otto Klemperer and an Italian principal oboe. Sadly, Klemp is not alone. It must be hard to be a conductor, and I don’t mean that sarcastically. But one of the hardest things – judging by

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It's an ecosystem, Maestro

0 Robert Levine

Riccardo Muti, who last week taught us (and the Met Opera orchestra) about Verdi, this week is teaching us about the value of some American orchestras: The Riccardo Muti era at the Chicago Symphony Orchestra officially began Thursday at Symphony Center, as the CSO’s 10th music director announced plans for his first season. He did

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Conductors and the cult of personality

0 Robert Levine

Two conductor profiles in the New York Times in recent days highlight the dangers of thinking that conductors are special people. The first was on Riccardo Muti, and was an unadulterated puff piece: Realizing that the Met musicians might not have been familiar with the opera, he occasionally paused to clue them in on the

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Better seen than heard

0 Robert Levine

Norman Lebrecht thinks conductors should STFU: By some intuitive affinity or massive failure of imagination, both Gramophone and BBC Music magazine asked ’10 leading Mahler conductors’ to explain in their current issues what his symphonies mean to them. Three maestros – Zinman, Jansons, Tilson Thomas – took part in both features. The rest included most

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Mein Vaterland, Mein Gott!

0 Karen Schnackenberg

I had a library nightmare over the holidays, and I don’t mean that figuratively.  You know those performance anxiety nightmares players can have over a particular piece that’s difficult or a recurring worst-case scenario?  Well, instead of dreaming my hand wouldn’t stay on the violin fingerboard or I couldn’t identify the proper chords on the

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The ultimate downbeat

0 Robert Levine

I glad I didn’t have to try to follow this guy; not only would I have messed up, but I would have felt a little… violated as well.

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Make Music a Part of Your Life and Never Make Life a Part of Your Music

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I suppose that most of the readers of the Polyphonic blog are aware that Leonard Slatkin suffered a heart attack 5 or 6 weeks ago.  I don’t usually pay much attention to reports like that, but since I’m just about the same age as Slatkin, I read his account of the incident with great interest. 

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Lead Like the Great Conductors

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Israeli conductor Itay Talgam uses leadership on the podium as a metaphor for leadership in business. Some good stuff here, worth watching, especially the last clip of Bernstein.

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Concert or Show?

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This past week the Broadway show “Chicago,” was in Rochester. It was the national touring production, and I contracted it and also played it. It’s a great show. Those Bob Fosse choreographed dance segments are spectacular. What a genius that man was. His choreography is unmistakable. Talk about having a style! The music is 1920’s

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GUEST BLOGGER Yvonne Caruthers–Will Apple Save Classical Music?

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A few years ago conductor Leonard Slatkin stated that John Williams had saved the orchestra. Why? Because at a time when Broadway shows were moving more and more toward the use of synthesizers and recorded music, Williams was writing film scores for large orchestras. Slatkin maintained that producers (and audiences) having Williams’ sounds in their

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Are conductors ovepaid?

1 Robert Levine

Yes and no. Both writers make good points. I find myself more in agreement with the “no” side, however. In the end, it’s the same as with most leadership positions. Good conductors are worth every cent of what they’re paid. Bad conductors are worth nada. The more interesting question is about the value of all

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Management by waving (sticks) around

0 Robert Levine

The Globe and Mail apparently believes that conductors have something to teach the corporate world: As a rookie conductor, Roger Nierenberg thought his job as leader was to tell people what to do. But in 14 years as director of the Jacksonville Symphony Orchestra in Florida, he learned that being overly controlling is destined to

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