The conductorless orchestra is a metaphor for Donald Trump

The conductorless orchestra is a metaphor for Donald Trump


norman lebrecht

July 27, 2016

From a thoughtful essay in the New Statesman:

Notions of pluralism are under intense scrutiny in the current US presidential election. Now more than ever, diversity and difference are under attack from the narrow-minded politics of Donald Trump. Harvey Seifter and Peter Economy, the co-authors of Leadership Ensemble: Lessons in Collaborative Management from the World’s Only Conductorless Orchestras, think the Republican nominee could learn a few lessons from the tenets of conductorless orchestras.

“Leadership ensembles are high-performing multi-leader teams that share and rotate leadership roles based on knowledge and expertise, and operate collaboratively on trust, mutual respect, emotional intelligence and integrity,” Seifter says.

“In each of those respects, they are the antithesis of the politics of Donald Trump, and the ethos of Trumpism.”


Read on here.


  • cabbagejuice says:

    Conductor-less orchestras were tried in the Soviet Union under Josef Stalin. There were no first chairs, either.

  • pianofortissimo says:

    That’s a very strange idea, to propose a conductorless orchestra as a metaphor for Donald Trump. Why not call Donald Trump the Christian Thielemann of Politics instead? There is really no limit to how much nonsense can be expressed with words (that’s because I prefer pure instrumental music).

    • Pianofortissimo says:

      Let me develop the idea better. That’s pure wordy nonsense, of course, but the comparison endures a discussion, and it sounds at least more convincing than the conductorless orchestra metaphor, since most people expressing their opinion in the media seem to believe they know better what Mr. Trump or Mr. Thielemann really thinks about the world of today than Mr. Trump or Mr. Thielemann themselves.

  • Val says:

    Oh by the way, Trump owns at least two white steinways. Ivanka owns one B? at her park ave. apartment. The obamas? They are far, far from classical music.

    • Dave T says:

      I hadn’t realized that Trump was running against Obama. Since you know so much, how many pianos did Woodrow Wilson have?

      • Ken weiss says:

        You miss the point
        Trump’s orchestra based on hard work and merit.
        To play in Hilary Clinton’s orchestra you needn’t audition: just bring cash. Lots and lots of cash!!

        Obama’s orchestra? He didn’t build it!

        • Dave T says:

          Trump’s orchestra? Hard work and merit, alright, by musicians imported from China. But when payday arrives it declares bankruptcy, and you get 50 cents on the dollar (if you’re lucky). Not happy? You get sued in court until you say ‘uncle’.

    • Iain Scott says:

      But what do they do with them?

    • jaypee says:

      They own pianos because that’s what rich people are supposed to do. Especially white pianos. The real question should be: do any of them play?
      I don’t know why but I can’t picture Donald Trump playing or even listening to Schumann’s Davidbündlertänze or Ravel’s Le tombeau de Couperin…

    • David Nice says:

      So wrong about the Obamas. Bach is important to them. And Jaypee is right. Trump hears no music. And have you seen photos of the mother? Accounts for a lot.

      The heading is even more extreme than the article. Both are utter nonsense. Persimfans did a good job and knew its limits. Some works can be done with democratic assent and no conductor, though generally speaking larger-scale, late romantic pieces can’t.

  • Gerhard says:

    In his article Harvey Seifter says about conductorless orchestras: “… they are the antithesis of the politics of Donald Trump, and the ethos of Trumpism.” Out of this Slippedisc distills the headline “THE CONDUCTORLESS ORCHESTRA IS A METAPHOR FOR DONALD TRUMP”. Go figure.

  • Roscoe says:

    Is the shark ok?