Friday, 13 August 2010

On being a conductor

Some random reflections, by one who isn't

A posting on Conductive World three days ago has lead on to a long discussion between Susie Mallett and Rony Schenker about what it is that one might reasonably expect conductors to know and do:

Their respective positions are not a mile apart, with more in common than divides in terms of their mutual wish to see competent, responsible conductor practice.

Since they have now raised the question to a higher level of generality than addressed in the original posting (the role and desirability of conductor-nannies), I shall offer my own perspective on this wider issue, one based on several years' employing conductors, and establishing a course for their basic training.

The dilemmas/contradictions that Rony and Susie are considering were a constant concern in both these roles. I neither found nor sought a single, necessary right or wrong single answer to specific questions – but instead tried to perspectivise such questions not in terms of 'the conductor' (There is no such animal: discuss!) but through considering conductors in their plurality, and that within their time contexts both personal and historical.

Such a (critical) stance, offers a more varied framework for seeking potential working solutions to the very real problems that Rony and Susie have raised (actually, I think that they are both right, and I agree with both of them – up to a point). Here, at random and with no attempt at formulation, are a few such perspectives.
All this has turned out a lot harder than I anticipated. I shall add the rest tomorrow! Do please come back!

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