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A book about the business of conducting,
explored by PAUL SARCICH


This is not a book about conducting, it is a book about the business of conducting and the conducting of business. Wittry considers the conductor as Music Director or Artistic Director of an orchestra, and goes into great detail about what that involves, on a personal, professional and public level. Tyro conductors totally focussed on learning their scores and arguing about the bowing of bar 23 may find this book daunting, as it posits the music director as a mixture of musician, leader, diplomat, financial manager, educator, people manager, fundraiser, PR frontsperson, good committee member and plenty else besides; and demands skills in all those areas. As the author points out, it can be a full-time job without the music.

'Beyond the Baton - What Every Conductor Needs to Know' - Diane Wittry. © 2007 Oxford University Press
'Beyond the Baton - What Every Conductor Needs to Know' - Diane Wittry. © 2007 Oxford University Press

One necessary thing to point out is that this book is entirely American, and considers everything from the point of view of the USA orchestral scene. Readers from other parts of the globe will have to extrapolate the principles enumerated into their own regions and make their own adjustments. The 100-plus pages of resource lists are splendid, provide an instant guide for the USA, and give a pointer to what one's own resources lists need to be like in whatever region one is functioning.

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Copyright © 27 May 2007 Paul Sarcich, London UK


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