time to talk

“I don’t want to talk, I want to communicate with this,” says Mihhail Gerts at one point during his 15 minutes with the Guildhall orchestra, waving his baton.

Words that orchestral musicians are always glad to hear (and a reason why conducting students tend to have it drummed into them to keep rehearsals moving), but today there’s another reason to keep words to a minimum.

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The hazards of conducting

‘Just play what you see,’ said Lennox Mackenzie to the orchestra before the competition proper began.

They did just that at the opening of Mozart 39, one of those slow introductions that a conductor has to decide whether to conduct using four slow beats to a bar or eight faster ones. Most importantly of all, they need to tell the orchestra which they decide on! If it’s not clear, some players will see one, some the other and you can imagine the noise that results.

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The Magic and Majesty of Alexandre Desplat

On Thursday 11 December, film composer Alexandre Desplat joins the LSO to conduct us through a selection of some of his most iconic scores, including The King's Speech, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, The Grand Budapest Hotel and more.

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It’s a cold, bright December morning here in London and we’re in the music hall at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama preparing for the 2014 Donatella Flick LSO Conducting Competition. There’s an orchestra warming up and groups of people standing around, also warming up (I did say it was cold).

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Donatella Flick LSO Conducting Competition 2014: an introduction

This weekend sees the biennial Donatella Flick LSO Conducting Competition, at the end of which we will find the next Assistant Conductor of the LSO.

The Competition
The competition, which has been running every two years since 1990, kicks off on Saturday 6 December at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama. In Rounds 1 (Saturday) & 2 (Sunday) 20 competitors (selected from 225 applicants) will be whittled down to ten, and then to just three finalists.

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