difficult conductor

Discussion in 'Trumpet Discussion' started by iguananaught, May 14, 2005.

  1. iguananaught

    iguananaught Pianissimo User

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    Mar 10, 2005
    Here is my question Manny,

    Have you ever had a conductor insult you or your playing? This just happened to me at a rehearsal the other day. The conductor was very rude to me, calling my sound "blatty" and ripping me a new one for basically following what they were doing (the conductor thought they were showing a good subdivided 4 pattern, which was not clear at all). My colleagues all agree that I was not "blatty", and they all followed the same way I did in the afore mentioned "subdivided" 4. So anyway, I want to deal with this in the most professional way. The community of musicians here in my little hamlet of a town is close knit. There are now five or six of us that will never play for this person again, but I think someone needs to say something. Have you ever had to deal with this kind of thing?

    PS-a friend of Al Moore's said that you were spectacular as usual on Pictures at St. Ben's a couple weeks ago. He asked me to mention that to you! Wish I could have heard it, dang it.

    Patrick
     
  2. Manny Laureano

    Manny Laureano Utimate User

    5,915
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    Sep 29, 2004
    USA
    To quote Bear:

    Grrrrrr....

    I hate that kind of crap, to put it bluntly. There are some conductors that try to engage in that sort of description but, fortunately, they are few and far between. Most of the time I let it go if it's a language thing or, believe it or don't, if it's said in a nice(?) way.

    That's probably not the worst thing any conductor's ever said but I'm sure it wrankled you. The worst thing is being accused of doing something wrong when you're sure you were just following what was given. It also stinks when a conductor may correct intonation and the pitch sheriffs in the wire choir shuffle their feet accordingly. There's a lovely safety in numbers for string players and the same errors in pitch they are prone to make are buried in anonymity.

    All these things together can make for an unpleasant rehearsal.
    After so many years in the band, I'm not above raising my hand and telling a conductor he's unclear if it's warranted. It's harder with the foreigners because they don't understand often what you're trying to say so you just drop it and swallow your pride.

    With someone who's being a frustrated jerk, you call them on it if you're sure you're in the right. I don't know what happened in your rehearsal but I'll trust your version of it. Always be the better man about it, howver. Get really good at letting someone know you're on to them in the most civil way possible. It puts him on notice and actually might get some clarity shed.

    Presently, I'm dealing with someone from another section who has behaved as unprofessionally as I've ever seen. Maybe the most. But this person (not another wind player) is truly mentally unstable so it's not a problem. His past precedes him! Life is like that, you have to be smart and keep your eyes and ears open and learn to deal with nice people and the idiots that are just plain bullies. Always, always, always, stand up to bullies. Ultimately they're nothing but cowards.

    ML
     
  3. trumpetpimp

    trumpetpimp Piano User

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    Dec 6, 2003
    Toronto
    I've had moments like that. Some were to me and some were to members of bands I've been in. Suffice it say there have been plenty of times when I havn't been impressed with a conductor's behavior.

    Unfortunatly, many things in the musical world are political. Just because someone is being a jerk and you're in the right doesn't mean the jerk doesn't have more power than you. He probably does. He may tell his collegues you aren't good to work with or if he has any power over your placement in different bands(i.e. university) or what part or solos you get you may get the short end of the stick.

    In the short term you have to grin and bear it. It sounds like a lot of other guys in the band know this guy is a twit. In the long term...just don't play in his band next year. The season is almost over. :roll:
     
  4. iguananaught

    iguananaught Pianissimo User

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    Mar 10, 2005
    There are about 5 or 6 of us that will not play for the conductor again. This group includes four principals. In an orchestra, especially a chamber orchestra like this one is, that is a lot!

    Luckily, I have more pull in this situation then the conductor. They aren't well respected by any of the instrumentalists that matter. I thought that the rehearsal I had this morning went well. I didn't get confronted, and I didn't confront. I will most likely say something after the concert. Nothing insulting, I will just note the unprofessionalism and the potential to alienate many outstanding players.

    I will say that I am lucky enough to play under some great conductors here in St. Cloud as well. The MO's own Bill Schrickel being one of them! He is great to work for. Anyway, I guess you really can't please everyone all of the time.

    Patrick
     
  5. Anonymous

    Anonymous Forte User

    1,099
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    Oct 21, 2003
    Mr. Laureano:

    I was just wondering how exactly you would approach the MD on certain issues. I've worked in a college orchestra program with the most rude, ignorant, and unprofessional conductor that I've ever seen. He chooses to focus on the unimportant and neglect little things like intonation and style. He normally stops the entire orchestra to humiliate one player. If one misses a note in the orchestra and he can tell who it was, he glares at him or her for about twenty seconds at a time.

    How would you deal with this person? The ENTIRE orchestra agrees about this person; his reputation is horrible at our school (which is a music conservatory, btw). Administration is aware of the problem but will not do anything about it since the MD chair is endowed by a private benefactor.

    Thanks for your thoughts!
     
  6. Manny Laureano

    Manny Laureano Utimate User

    5,915
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    Sep 29, 2004
    USA
    Peabody,

    I suppose, given that you have no power in this context, the only thing you have before you is to graduate and leave this person as an insignificant memory.

    However, past that, if you have enough people that agree with your point of view, you may choose to remind the powers that be that while you are not a benefactor, you are paying for your education at great expense, I'm sure. It would be a shame for word to get out that Peabody is not a good place to go to school because of the rude behavior of a teacher/conductor. What a shame it would be if word got out through, oh, I don't know... the internet and other media that the worst thing one could do is go to a school that doesn't treat it's students with due respect. Lost reputation, people transferring to other schools... yup, that would be a shame.

    ML
     
  7. Rimshot

    Rimshot Pianissimo User

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    Feb 14, 2005
    Atlanta
    Gee, maybe an accidental copy 'n paste of THIS url might find it's way to the appropriate administrators? Could that happen? I'm sure they wouldn't want to be the absolute LAST to find out.

    P.S. If it's any comfort, major music schools (major anything schools) burdened with this kind of schmuck are not at all uncommon.
     
  8. Anonymous

    Anonymous Forte User

    1,099
    4
    Oct 21, 2003
    Dear Mr. Laureano and others:

    Thanks for your funny and true comments! It would definitly be a shame for the word to get out about that type of thing.

    BTW, I just bought the Copland 3 CD with MO and it's fantastic! You sound amazing as always Mr. L! What a wonderful opportunity this website is to prod the mind of one of the great players of today! Thank you for that chance!
     

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