Wednesday, March 31, 2010

AAC in Action

I bet most patrons are not aware of the AAC and it's function. One of the committees that musicians voluntarily serve on, through the election by BSO musicians, is the Artistic Advisory Committee. We discuss many aspects of BSO operations with our CEO, Paul Meecham, our General Manager, Kendra Whitlock Ingram and other artistic staff. They listen to our requests and recommendations for guest conductors and for repertoire, and we discuss other topics such as acoustics and stage set up, too.

This week we are focusing on selecting finalists for an assistant conductor audition scheduled to take place in April. Over one hundred and twenty applicants sent DVDs of themselves conducting various orchestras. We are in the process of whittling down the list to ten or so DVDs that Marin Alsop will then watch, and ultimately an invitation will go out to about five conductors to come to the audition. At the audition, they will each have about 20-25 minutes to show their stuff to us.

It is fascinating to watch conductors: each has her/his own style. Some seem more "technically" oriented; that is, they convey the tempos and rhythms of the music, and things such as dynamics (how loudly we play) with accurate signals to us, using their arms, faces and bodies. Some "dance" on the podium while others convey almost everything from the waist up. And a rare few seem to describe with their entire bodies, in addition to accurate tempos and dynamics, moods, subtle turns of phrases, emotions, etc. When we see candidates who can "do it all," so to speak, then we get excited and put them on the "Yes" list for Marin.

It will be interesting to see the candidates in a few weeks.

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