Assistant conductorships “the best education possible”

Posted on: August 16, 2010

“In 1990, during Robert Spano’s first season as assistant conductor with the Boston Symphony, the orchestra was playing a concert at Carnegie Hall,” writes David Weininger in Sunday’s (8/15) Boston Globe. “Music director Seiji Ozawa had ordered that picture-taking be allowed only during the last minute of the performance, and Spano was charged with enforcing that decree.  … ‘And I thought, how do you write up this job description?’ recalled Spano, now music director of the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra. ‘You know, that’s the “other duties as assigned.” ‘ … With three musicians who have held the post of BSO assistant conductor leading the orchestra at Tanglewood this month, it’s a good time to consider just what this job is—what it takes to be successful, where it can lead, and what it can teach. Shi-Yeon Sung’s concert last weekend was the final regularly scheduled performance in her assistantship, Spano takes the podium this afternoon, and Ludovic Morlot conducts on Friday. All three agreed that a great deal of the assistant experience is immersive. ‘It may be obvious but I’ll say it anyway: The chance to live with a great orchestra is just the best education possible,’’ said Spano, who served from 1990 to 1993.”

Posted August 16, 2010