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.
It may be that you are not yourself luminous, but that you are a conductor of light. Some people without possessing genius have a remarkable power of stimulating it.
The conductor of an orchestra doesn’t make a sound. He depends, for his power, on his ability to make other people powerful.
We are aware that the conductor is not really making the music, it is making him -- if he is relaxed, open and attuned, then the invisible will take possession of him; through him, it will reach us.
The great leaders are like the best conductors - they reach beyond the notes to reach the magic in the players.
Technique is communication: the two words are synonymous in conductors.
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?
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.
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.
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.
Never look at the trombones, it only encourages them.
Conducting, I tried it once off the cuff, and quickly realized there were subtle aspects that I was missing. There is a lot more to it that I was able to grasp simply by watching conductors.
Young conductors who are confident enough, they very often have success.
A good conductor ought to be a good chauffeur; the qualities that make the one also make the other. They are concentration, an incessant control of attention, and presence of mind; the conductor only has to add a little sense of music.
The most important thing for the conductor is that he or she listens. Her listening will make things sound a certain way. If the conductor listens well, the musicians listen each other better. The conductor can in effect impose a certain kind of listening for everybody.
Perhaps, once I am gone, the one thing I might be remembered for is having sung a great deal of Mahler with a great many phenomenal conductors. It is wonderful music, very spiritual.
Conductors must give unmistakable and suggestive signals to the orchestra, not choreography to the audience.
Conductors' careers are made for the most part with 'Romantic' music. 'Classic' music eliminates the conductor; we do not remember him in it.
A conductor should guide rather than command.
The conductor's stand is not a continent of power, but rather an island of solitude.
There's power in the collective. If you don't believe me, just watch a symphony orchestra with a conductor and 120 people who are thinking about exactly the same thing at the same moment - no babies, no stock markets, no mortgages. Just 32nd notes.
You know why conductors live so long? Because we perspire so much.
You know as I started as a shy young conductor, I always wanted to cooperate. To build up the musicians. To help them to be better than without a conductor. And sometimes young talented musicians have to be encouraged.
I never ran my train off the track, and I never lost a passenger.
I always imagined that to bring an orchestra to play together is not enough for a conductor.
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