Sh*t Conductors Say

Sh*t Conductors Say


norman lebrecht

January 31, 2012

Tick the ones you’ve heard most often – a chillout session with Josh Weilerstein.  You mean you only got paid $40,000 for that concert?


  • Roger Rey says:

    What a load of crap.

  • Josh Weilerstein says:

    Thanks for the plug Norman! I sincerely hope I have never said, or will never say, any of these things…

    Sadly, every word of this has been heard either by myself, or one of my friends.

    Hope you enjoy!

  • Doug says:

    Would he care to share with us from whom exactly HE heard all that ‘sh*t?’ (presumably from his colleagues and mentors) I know where I have heard it. Just look at the conductor roster on the Opus 3 website in the link.

  • Francisco Martinez Ramos says:


  • mary soilex says:

    this ist hillarious! and how! i NEVER laughed as hard , Oh mein Lord, this mann ist a comic?
    He should be on David Lettermann . Gutten comic relief und so needed.

  • Valentina Lisitsa says:

    Here is some authentic conductors’ lore 🙂
    Eugene Ormandy and his English:

    -Who is sitting in that empty chair?
    -I don’t want to confuse you more than absolutely necessary.
    -Congratulations to each and every one of you for the concert last night in New York and vice versa.
    -I’m conducting slowly because I don’t know the tempo. I conduct faster so you can see my beat.
    -I cannot give it to you, so try to watch me.
    -I was trying to help you, so I was beating wrong.
    -I am thinking it right but beating it wrong.
    -I can conduct better than I count.
    -I guess you thought I was conducting, but I wasn’t.
    -I purposely didn’t do anything, and you were all behind.
    -Even when you are not playing you are holding me back.
    -Don’t ever follow me, because I am difficult.
    -It is not as difficult as I thought it was, but it is harder than it is.
    -The notes are right, but if I listened they would be wrong.
    -I wrote it the right way, so it was copied the wrong way right. I mean the right way wrong.
    -At every concert I’ve sensed a certain insecurity about the tempo. It’s clearly marked 80 . . . uh, 69.
    -Watch me closely. Only one can spoil it.
    -Someone came in too sooner.
    -Start beforty-two.
    -Start three bars before something.
    -Start at B. No. Yes. No. Yes. No.
    -Did you play? It sounded very good.
    -Intonation is important, especially when it’s cold.
    -Beauty is less important than quality.
    -If you don’t have it in your part, leave it out, because there’s enough missing already.
    -Percussion a little louder. (“We don’t have anything.”) That’s right. Play it louder.
    -More basses, because you are so far away.
    -I need one more bass less.
    -There are no woodwinds at number 6. (“We’re at number 15.”) I know. That is why.
    -(To a tubist): Long note? “Yes.” Make it seem short.
    -Brass, stay down all summer.
    -Don’t play louder, just give more.
    -Accelerando means in tempo. Don’t rush.
    -I don’t want to repeat this a hundred times. When you see crescendo, it means p.
    -The tempo remains pp.
    -It’s difficult to remember when you haven’t played it before.
    -We can’t hear the balance because the soloist is still on the airplane.
    -Please follow me because I have to follow him, and he isn’t here.
    -Without him here, it is impossible to know how fast he will play it, approximately.
    -With us tonight is William Warfield, who is with us tonight.
    -He is a wonderful man, and so is his wife.
    -Bizet was a very young man when he wrote this symphony, so play it soft.
    -Mahler wrote it as the third movement of his Fourth Symphony. I mean the fourth movement of his First Symphony. We play it third.
    -The trumpet solo will be played by our solo trumpet player. His name is Blumine, which has something to do with flowers.
    -(On the death of David Oistrakh) I told him he’d have a heart attack a year ago, but unfortunately he lived a year longer.
    -Serkin was so sick he almost died for three days.
    -(On William Kapell’s death) Death is a terrible thing. I don’t believe in it myself.
    -This is a very democratic organization, so let’s take a vote. All those who disagree with me, raise their hands.
    -It’s all very well to have principles, but when it comes to money, you have to be flexible.
    -Thank you for your cooperation, and vice versa.
    -I mean what I meant.
    -I never say what I mean, but I always manage to say something similar.
    -I don’t mean to make you nervous, but unfortunately I have to.
    -Relax, don’t be nervous. My God, it’s the Philadelphia Orchestra.