Carlos Kleiber: Orchestras will teach you all you can learn about conducting
February 16, 2017 by norman lebrecht
We have seen a letter from the great conductor to someone asking for lessons.
Dated 29 June 1999, here’s what Kleiber advises:
I never do any teaching! (And I hardly conduct anywhere any more).
Judging by your CD, you aren’t a beginner by any means. Orchestras* will teach you all that you’re capable of learning about conducting.
Try as coach in some opera company in the US. When the conductor falls sick, there’s a chance to take over a performance. If you don’t blow it, you’re in. Symphonies can wait. Symphonic music means mainly rehearsal. Opera means technique, in the broader sense of the word. With a good technique, you can forget technique. It’s like with manners. If you know how to behave, you can misbehave. That’s fun! (At least, that’s my theory).
*And watching conductors – preferably lousy ones – at work. (They’re everywhere!)
PS This letter is all I can do for you. OK?
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