Conducting Beethoven

ConductorIn December 2002 I was fortunate to have a once in a lifetime opportunity — conducting a symphony orchestra. Mozart’s twenty-fifth symphony (first movement) was a very challenging yet rewarding experience. Three and a half years later, I was again fortunate — for a second time in a lifetime — to conduct Beethoven’s Prometheus Overture. Maestro Sidney Rothstein, my friend and instructor, suggested a more complex piece this time and Creatures of the Prometheus filled the bill.

It was indeed a challenge, but at the same time an exhilarating experience that is hard to describe in words. The Ridgefield Symphony Orchestra is always a privilege to hear but as three years ago, the difference between sitting in the audience and standing inches from the musicians — was amazing. It was being right in their space, seeing them at work in great detail and hearing the unique character of each instrument like never before. I have always had great respect for orchestral musicians but once again even more so.

I didn’t count how many times I listened to mp3 recordings of the Prometheus and how many times I read the thirty-page score, but it reached the point where the notes were playing in my head nearly every waking hour. After all the hours of rehearsing, there were no more excuses — it was time to raise the baton and conduct. I made two introductory beats and then away we went! To watch these professionals at work, to hear the actual instruments instead of an mp3, to see the musicians in front of me and occasional encouraging smiles from them — I was on cloud nine. If the orchestra senses that you know the music, they will actually follow you! I made a few mistakes, but I don’t believe the audience noticed. At the end, I congratulated them on their performance and was humbled as *they* applauded. Here are the reviews from the The Ridgefield Press and The Danbury News-Times.

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