In my effort to learn more about classical music, I recently came across two quotes from two very successful conductors, composers and leaders of the world’s most respected orchestras. They are very similar, and they made me think about how we manage creative people.
“To be able to work with an orchestra over an extended period is rare, but fruitful. The players get to know my musical language and I get to know their individual qualities … Spending time with members of the orchestra, and listening to how they interact, influences the way in which you compose in much the same way writing for a particular voice does. Simply emersing yourself in rehearsals, soaking up the problems and the things that work, is all part of the amazing learning curve which is a continuous and lifelong process.”
-Michael Berkeley, composer, recently composer-in-association with the BBC National Orchestra of Wales.
“It’s my purpose to help them shape priorities and decide, so that at the concert they can be as spontaneous and engaging as possible. The more artistic the musicians are, they more you can work, not on the little details, but on the larger things.”
-Michael Tilson Thomas, music director, San Francisco Symphony