Category Archives: conductors

Conducting continued

“For [a] conductor this is a question of how to use his personality and his education… the strength of his character… so that the musicians will be very quickly involved of the atmosphere of the piece. It doesn’t really matter how well you move with your hands. It should be in your face, it should be in your expression. “

-Valery Gergiev

This quote (which was from my last post ) came to mind as we rehearsed the Enigma Variations today.

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How important is conducting technique?

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I’ve been wondering recently about the importance of the physical part of what a conductor does. There are certainly many very renowned musicians with no formal training who are making careers out of conducting (or at least substantially supplementing their usual work with guest conducting.) In many cases these are chamber orchestras or baroque/classical music (often music composed at a time when the conductor as we know him today had yet to become a permanent fixture at the front of the orchestra.) Now I am ruling out poor musicians altogether. I want to know if a conductor can be successful relying on his or her musical mind, without any substantial training in the physical aspects of the task. Does there come a point when a great musician’s lack of training can actually be a detriment on the podium that cannot be overcome by a great musical mind, or even by just a deep passion for the music. Continue reading