Posted September 12, 2012

September 12, 2012

Does an orchestra perform better with or without a conductor?

In a recent article in the Economist, a recent scientific study says YES. The article summarizes a very long and scientific article on the science of kinetics and cognition published in the on-line journal PLOS One.

The article in the Economist:

and the link to the PLOS One abstract of the study is below. The full study can be downloaded by clicking the download PDF icon on the upper right hand side…

Recently PBS rebroadcast an American Masters presentation on James Levine. The original airing was in June 2011 celebrating Levine’s 40 years at the Met. Maestro Levine’s style of conducting was demonstrated in live performances, coachings and rehearsals. Interestingly enough he mentioned over and over that he can’t just wave a baton and expect people to know what he meant – he had to go over the whole score and explain the tempi and dynamics and how he would cue such areas. It appeared to be a highly collaborative approach and not an arm waving tyrant barking orders. Abilty to read music is also a plus (see above photo).

You can see an excerpt of this excellent American Masters documentary film here: