A conductor mourns her teacher

A conductor mourns her teacher


norman lebrecht

May 09, 2017

Rebecca Averill responds to the death of the inspirational Robert Gutter:

When I was a lost freshman in a large university orchestra, the maestro walked up to the back of the second violin section took one look at me and said “You belong up there” pointing at the podium.

It took me two years to understand what he meant and when my private teacher saw I understood he dragged me up to the Maestro’s studio announced I understood and the man looked at me and simply stated “its about time”

He was brilliant and often misunderstood but I cherish every moment I spent learning in his studio. I loved nothing more than to make him smile by calling a piece a song or randomly swearing while performing my rhythm exercises.

Never was I prouder than when he watched me conduct after I won a spot in the concerto competition and spending time in Italy.

I failed his dream but never forgot his quiet brilliance and his lifetime commitment to the truth of the melody.

I have kept this picture over 10 years and will cherish it for the rest of my life.


Rest in music and in peace Robert Gutter


  • questioner says:

    I have trouble even understanding this anecdote. She says that the conductor discovered her in the 2nd violin section and insisted she become a conductor? That is really extraordinary.