Things that move….

I’m in the midst of the busiest schedule of my life in Lake Placid and in Syracuse, with 3 (this week 5) concerts a week till mid August, but that doesn’t mean there is no time to be moved….just not much time to write about it!  Yesterday something struck me and a friend shared with me a clip that reminded me just how we can through music both move and be moved, I also kind of broke an unwritten rule….

As a conductor, when rehearsing, it’s important to listen to results and react to them in a tangible way i.e “yes that was more together, sounded unified etc..Most important is that what you say is true!  This may seem obvious, but with professionals making praise when it in fact it’s not better is not a good idea, and/or proves that you aren’t listening….I learned along time ago, that you can’t fool them!  One of the unwritten rules is that you don’t stop to make speeches, long or short about how they are a great orchestra (or the opposite!).  Why?  They want to do a great job, they will be able to hear how good they sound, in rehearsal it is about accomplishing and moving on and most importantly, the audience reaction is the real barometer.  As a conductor we are not parents, and in fact for the first 5 or so years of my career I was the youngest and least experienced person in the room!  Musicians are more interested in accomplishment than encouragement, and blood can boil when after an initial reading a conductor says hey that was incredible, great, superb, brilliant….now let’s go back dissect and change everything! Better to say, thank you we have a lot to work with, but a lot of work to do, let’s go back to the beginning….especially if it’s true! Well yesterday I broke the rule but I make no apologies because there something behind it that I couldn’t control.

After playing through Jupiter from the Planets with the Syracuse Symphony yesterday, I was a little overcome.  During the “big” theme, I was struck at just how incredible they sounded, how inspiring their playing was realizing that there is a such a power to that sound, human powered sound.  All at once it made me realize that with the ability and power to make that sound, how can we live without that?  In a moment it made me think of orchestras around the country doing drastic and detrimental things to survive (or not surviving) that with all the real sacrifices, it made me wonder again and I can’t say it enough knowing that we can make “that” sound, how can we live without it? Sometimes it is in a moment that things can strike you and so I broke the rule and just had to tell the SSO, that they sounded inspired.  They inspire me so often, but yesterday I had to tell them and the only reason I can come up with is that….I just had to because I felt so moved.

A friend shared with me this clip from the World Science Festival last year, with Bobby McFerrin.  Words can’t describe how inspiring this is:

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