What does it take to be an Orchestra Conductor?

February 9, 2012 in Daily Bulletin

Justin Davidson at New York Magazine decided to find out what it took to become a musical conductor by taking a course at the Juilliard School. Some of the things he found:

  • Conductors have to deal with the Maestro Paradox – the person responsible for the totality of sound produces none.
  • What conductors have going in their favour is that the performers want to do a good job. One musician said that it was “amazing how beautifully we play when we don’t know what the hell the guy on the podium is doing”.
  • The role of the conductor has evolved. They used to be seen as shepherds who were not above publicly berating and humiliating individual players who made mistakes. Now they’re seen as directors of a team of professional musicians.

To read more about what the limiting factor of the best conductors is (hint: it’s not their physical capacity) as well as a deeper description of Davidson’s experiences, click here.

Source: New York Magazine.