I’m in Seattle Airport on my way home from the 2007 Rose City International Conductor’s Workshop. It was quite a week- exhausting, exciting, entertaining and really inspiring for all of us on the faculty. I just hope the students got even half as much out of it as we did.
I’ll share some more detailed thoughts and highlights from the week when I have more time, if they still seem interesting to me when I’m next at a computer. Meanwhile, one question stays with me…..
Last night was the final concert. It’s truly baptism by fire- each student conducts a movement of something, but the concert is not rehearsed (although it uses the repertoire we’ve been working on all week). The orchestra and soloists may doing things for the first time, and the conductor might be doing something they’ve never done before.
By and large, everyone did very well, and the soloists were splendid. I think I have the world’s best living Azucena on my hands right now. However, there were a few scary moments- hopefully those who went through them will look at this as a low-key chance to find out what their weaknesses are right now rather than to learn them in a concert that really matters.
My lingering question is this- In the concert I was struck that almost everyone’s conducting at the end of the week looked much the same as at the beginning of the week (with a few huge and interesting exceptions), although generally more specific and refined, and the level of the performances was very high. Even in some instances were there things I really wanted to encourage the student to change visually, some still looked the same in the end. Everyone still looked like themselves.
Does this mean we did a good job teaching them or a bad job?
My first reaction was to think that somehow the message didn’t get through to some people, but maybe if a young conductor can be bombarded with information, ideas and feedback and go onstage and maintain a sense of their own musical personality and cope with an unrehearsed concert at the end of the week, we’ve done something right? It’ll be interesting to see what stays with them over the next six months, or two years, but it’s ultimately not my business what any of them do from here. I’m just a curious observer from this point on. Readers- any comments? What do you think?
c. 2007 Kenneth Woods