What is Your Favorite Musical Period?

Violinist.com recently asked for reader’s vote on “What is your favorite musical period?

Our chorale had just performed Vivaldi’s “Gloria” and last May, Haydn’s “The Creation”. Our conductor planned for Handel’s “Messiah” this coming Christmas and Mozart’s sacred music in the coming seasons. So, we are immersed in Baroque and Classical periods. And I am debating whether I should vote for “Baroque” or “Classical”. Continue reading “What is Your Favorite Musical Period?”

Trust in Musical Leadership (Conducting)

Conductor Charles Hazlewood sums up his TED talk with these words: “Where there is trust, there is music — by extension life. Where there is no trust, the music quite simply withers away.”


Now in the old days, conducting, music making, was less about trust and more, frankly, about coercion. Up to and around about the Second World War, conductors were invariably dictators –these tyrannical figures who would rehearse, not just the orchestra as a whole, but individuals within it, within an inch of their lives. But I’m happy to say now that the world has moved on, music has moved on with it. We now have a more democratic view and way of making music — a two-way street. I, as the conductor, have to come to the rehearsal with a cast-iron sense of the outer architecture of that music, within which there is then immense personal freedom for the members of the orchestra to shine.

This TED talk pointed to an essential element of music leadership (conducting) — TRUST. Our chorale singers have this amazingly respect and admiration toward our conductor, Ms. Shang as a result of mutual trusts. Through long hours of rehearsal, she understood each singers capacity, painstakingly corrected our voicing and diction, and explained the music passages (She always says that music has logic and structure.),  since we are all amateur singers. She handpicked the orchestra leaders based on her long term relationships with the players so there is the “trust” element. Continue reading “Trust in Musical Leadership (Conducting)”