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Being a conductor is kind of a hybrid profession because most fundamentally, it is being someone who is a coach, a trainer, an editor, a director.
Michael Tilson Thomas
I have three siblings. My sister makes music. My older brother is a classical conductor, and my younger brother is a mixing engineer.
It's been a thrilling journey - I have had to really learn that an orchestra is an entity - it's a creature. I have been calling it the dragon and the conductor is the dragon tamer. And you just have to... ride and don't let go and you will be fine.
Haute couture is like an orchestra, for which only Balenciaga is the conductor. The rest of us are just musicians, following the directions he gives us.
I was the conductor of the Underground Railroad for eight years, and I can say what most conductors can't say; I never ran my train off the track and I never lost a passenger.
If you ever go to a music session, you'll notice that the musicians can sit down and start playing right away, and everyone knows what to do. Of course they're reading it, but the conductor can tweak little things, and you can take that back to directing motion pictures.
I think it's a very important collaboration between the conductor and the orchestra - especially when the conductor is one more member of the orchestra in the way that you are leading, but also respecting, feeling and building the same way for all the players to understand the music.
There's nothing more frustrating than seeing a conductor say, 'Play softer,' as they're waving their hands in huge gestures.
Conductors' careers are made for the most part with 'Romantic' music. 'Classic' music eliminates the conductor; we do not remember him in it.
The principal task of a conductor is not to put himself in evidence but to disappear behind his functions as much as possible. We are pilots, not servants.
I find little in the works of Beethoven, Berlioz, Wagner and others when they are led by a conductor who functions like a windmill.
As a child I wanted to be a ballerina, ice-cream van owner, wife of George Michael, a nun, and a music conductor.
It is so powerful when we can leave behind our ordinary identities, no longer think of ourselves primarily as a conductor, or writer, or salesclerk, and go to a supportive environment to deeply immerse in meditation practice.
I would often take this bus and go to a nearby village where I had hordes of animal friends. I was hardly around four or five years old then. The conductor was so used to seeing me hop on to the bus and get down at the same place, that he never asked any questions. The strangest part is, he never asked for a ticket either!
Acting is just playing the violin in an orchestra. Directing is being the conductor.
Is it not the business of the conductor to convey to the public in its dramatic form the central idea of a composition; and how can he convey that idea successfully if he does not enter heart and soul into the life of the music and the tale it unfolds?
John Philip Sousa
In truth, I became a conductor because deep down I wanted to conduct Brahms's four symphonies and Richard Strauss's tone poems.
I prefer it when the conductor follows me. It is more difficult to work with a conductor who does not listen - even if I understand that sometimes it makes sense when one person is ruling everything. But for bel canto, I have to have a conductor who listens and supports me.
The conductor is the artistic leader and sometimes cultural arbiter of his or her community. It is their leadership that is looked to and should anything go wrong, they are the persons taking most of the heat.
I conceived of an instrument that would create sound without using any mechanical energy, like the conductor of an orchestra. The orchestra plays mechanically, using mechanical energy; the conductor just moves his hands, and his movements have an effect on the music artistry.
Great cataclysmic things can go by and neither the orchestra nor the conductor are under the delusion that whether they make this or that gesture is going to be the deciding factor in how it comes out.
I don't feel that the conductor has real power. The orchestra has the power, and every member of it knows instantaneously if you're just beating time.
Increasingly I think of myself as some strange and solitary conductor, introduced to a group of very dynamic musicians who happen to be my characters, and I have no idea how they are going to play together, and I have certainly no idea how I am going to put manners on them.
The conductor's stand is not a continent of power, but rather an island of solitude.
The very first time I was on a car in Atlanta, I saw the conductor - all conductors are white - ask a Negro woman to get up and take a seat farther back in order to make a place for a white man. I have also seen white men requested to leave the Negro section of the car.
Ray Stannard Baker
Martin Luther King, Jr.
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