Conducting an Orchestra


Conducting an Orchestra: A blog about conducting an orchestra and the life of a conductor.

I recently read an article in the Financial Times (The Sound of Silence) about the oboist Nicholas Daniel and his search for musical silence. The article is basically a plug for his new CD, but it did get me thinking about musical silence and its role in performance.

Silence enables us to hear what has gone before, providing a space for reflection. Without silence, I can’t imagine how we would appreciate music; there would be no dynamics, no ebb and flow of sound and nothing to balance.

On Monday evening I conducted a rehearsal without any breaks; there was barely time to draw breath. It was very hard work, both physically and mentally, as I couldn’t relax my concentration for a moment. I had no idea how much difference just a five-minute rest could make until tonight.

Conducting an Orchestra: A blog about conducting an orchestra and the life of a conductor.

Orchestral music is arguably one of if not the most complicated genres of music that exists. It requires many, many musicians with different instruments to work together in order to create an amazing piece of art. In order for that to happen, the person who makes it all possible is the conductor. This website will provide information on how conductors do their job and some of their history.

Conducting an Orchestra: A blog about conducting an orchestra and the life of a conductor.

The 20th century was a rich time for musical composition. The invention of the recording studio in the late 19th century, and then the development of synthesizers and other electronic instruments, made possible new methods of composition and sound production. And composers had at their disposal a rich harmonic vocabulary inherited from classical music and jazz. Many different genres of music were explored and developed, including serialism (Schoenberg), twelve-tone technique (Webern), neoclassicism (Stravinsky), modernism (Debussy), impressionism (Messiaen), totalism (Ligeti), minimalism (Reich), post-minimalism (Glass), ambient music (Brian Eno), aleatoric music (Cage) … it’s hard to believe that this list only scratches the surface!

But what do all these genres mean? Are they just labels dreamed up by critics? How does one distinguish between them? Which ones are still relevant today? I’ve decided to try to answer these questions by exploring some representative works from each style, one per week.

Conducting an Orchestra is a blog about conducting an orchestra and the life of a conductor. It was founded in 2005, and it is authored by Evgeny Bushkov, who is a professional conductor.

The author’s goal is to give people insights into the world of conducting and orchestras, and to share his passion for music, which he has been doing for over 30 years now. He hopes that Conducting an Orchestra will help other conductors and those with an interest in conducting to develop their skills, learn more about how to become a conductor and how to improve their conducting technique and repertoire.

The author would like to thank everyone who has helped him make this blog possible: his colleagues, who gave him feedback on the posts before they were published; his family, friends and students, who have supported him along the way; his readers, whose questions have motivated him to write new posts in the first place; his wife Christine and their son Anton, who have encouraged him to pursue this hobby even when he could not find enough time for it; his teacher David Zinman for inspiring him in his work with young musicians at the Aspen Music Festival; his students at Westminster Choir College – where he teaches conducting – for inspiring him with their enthusiasm; last but

Conducting An Orchestra is a blog about conducting an orchestra and the life of a conductor. It will feature writings on conducting technique, opinions on music and the orchestra as an institution, and thoughts on various aspects of the art of conducting.

The name of this blog is taken from a classic book by Maurice Miles, who was a well-known English conductor in the first half of the 20th century. His book “Conducting An Orchestra” was published in 1935, but it was not published in English until 1952. In the introduction to that edition, Sir Adrian Boult wrote: “I am convinced that this book is one of the most practical guides written for those who aspire to become conductors or improve their methods.”

The author (who has been conducting professionally since 2004) hopes that this blog will do justice to Miles’s book by continuing his legacy and hopefully adding new insights into the art and craft of conducting an orchestra.

The blog has been described as “the most successful blog about conducting an orchestra and the life of a conductor” and as “a must-read for any conductor who wants to be taken seriously.” The author also notes that it is “by far the best blog about being an orchestra conductor in the world today, or so I am told by a number of people who are not my mother.”

The blog has also been the subject of some controversy. One critic complained that it is “not so much a blog about conducting as an attempt to legitimize the author’s fetish for men in tuxedos”, whilst another claimed that “it is not so much a blog about conductors as it is a forum for [the author] to vent his rage at being rejected by the Juilliard School”.

Conducting an Orchestra, by guest author Blake Pouliot.

This week’s guest post comes from the young conductor, composer and violinist Blake Pouliot.

In the past few years, many orchestras have taken to using a digital system of notation known as Sibelius. This program is used to create orchestral scores as well as parts for each individual musician and many conductors use this program to create their scores, send them to the orchestras in advance and print out a hard copy for their own use on the podium. I myself use it for my arrangements and other music that I compose.

The idea of Sibelius is great. It allows for a more legible score with less errors and can be sent electronically around the world in seconds, saving production costs and time. It has become an essential tool for many composers, arrangers, copyists, music directors and others all over the world since its creation in 1993, but it does have some drawbacks when it comes to conducting an orchestra.


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