Changing expectations for conductors

Posted on: February 14, 2011

In Monday’s (2/14) Wall Street Journal, Pia Catton writes about the speculation surrounding a possible successor to James Levine, the 67-year-old music director of the Metropolitan Opera. The article goes on to discuss the evolving nature of the position of music director: “While artistic results are ultimately what matters, the job of a podium leader is no longer simply: ‘Must make world-class music from ivory tower; crazy hair preferred.’ ‘The conductor of the future, especially in America, is an artistic leader in the community,’ said Joseph W. Polisi, president of the Juilliard School … ‘If you look at the old paradigm—an artistic leader who has no responsibilities off the podium—that’s no longer the paradigm in the U.S.’ … August institutions are not exempt. Jesse Rosen, who heads the League of American Orchestras, says that while orchestral conductors in smaller markets have long been identifiable community leaders, even the big leagues are reaching out. ‘Conductors are expanding their role beyond that of making great programs and seasons,’ he said, citing the community-based efforts of Riccardo Muti in Chicago, Marin Alsop in Baltimore and Gustavo Dudamel in Los Angeles.”

Posted February 14, 2011