the guest conductor formula

After over twenty years of having my butt in the chair of a major orchestra, I’ve come to the conclusion that there is a Guest Conductor Formula. It goes like this:

  • Program a piece that no orchestra has played.
  • Program a very popular concerto.
  • Program a major piece that is right in your wheelhouse and which is hard to screw up. (Most often this is Shostakovich 5th Symphony)
  • Let the orchestra out early.
  • Be nice.

It’s funny, because this is something our music director would never do, even at one of his guest gigs. I’m not sure what that means, but it means something. <winky face>

Any of you lifers out there got anything to add to this formula? Throw me a comment!

5 Replies to “the guest conductor formula”

  1. Mahler 1st. Guaranteed standing ovation. What with the brilliant D Major ending all of the guest conductor’s earlier transgressions, and there would have been be so many, will be forgotten. Onward to the reception with the big donors.

  2. This is humorous, and right on the mark. Although, the very first time our Music Director guest-conducted here, he did bring a similar “party-piece”, Dvorak’s 7th symphony. And, methinks the Saint-Saens concerto. However, your last 2 items…

    1. You’re not wrong, Peter! Although he did the Saint-Saens 5th concerto, which I don’t think anyone in the orchestra had heard it before. I’m also not certain how much of the program was of his choosing, as this was part of his ‘audition’ process. But he didn’t let us out early, and he wasn’t very nice to us!

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