Yale names interim conductor

Yale names interim conductor


norman lebrecht

August 08, 2018

The outgoing chief of the nearby New Haven Symphony, William Boughton, has agreed to conduct the Yale Symphony in the coming season.

Its music director, Toshiyuki Shimada, ‘will be on leave during that time’.



  • anon says:

    I always found it odd that the American university (or conservatory) orchestras (some of which are quite good, connected to top music departments, and training ground of top soloists or orchestra players) are not part of the career ladder for conductors as they make their way up to regional orchestras, then major orchestras.

    It’s as though there were 2 career paths, those who burst onto the scene and get appointed to the LA Philharmonic, and those who labor in obscurity for decades with a single university orchestra until they quietly retire.

    • anon says:

      As opposed to the American university athletic programs, which serve as a complete feeder for the professional sports, and whose coaches go back and forth between university programs and professional teams.

    • Malcolm James says:

      The skills required with training orchestras, even at conservatoires, can be quite different from those required for top, professional orchestras, and people who are good with one, may not be good with the other.

    • Jon H says:

      Slightly different skill sets.

      • steven holloway says:

        Is one of those skill sets superior? If so, which. Is it that Dudamel is, judged by criteria I cannot guess at or simply in virtue of his position, superior to Boughton? I must say that I would myself take the latter’s discography, especially his Nimbus and Lyrita recordings, over those of Dudamel.

        • Jon H says:

          Both are equally important. But a professional orchestra (or other professional group) is the height of musical expression and vision, so I consider it “superior.”

          • Jon H says:

            In some towns, the university orchestra is better than the local professional one – but the rewards for a community to support their local groups is enormous.

        • Bruce says:

          I’d say neither skill set is superior. They are both important and complement each other.

          • A school orchestra conductor needs to be able to teach musicians how to play in an ensemble: how to listen for and adjust intonation, tempo, phrasing, breathing together, making sure you’re not too loud, etc. Sometimes a conductor who is a wonderful musician is terrible at this. (If anybody reading this went to Eastman in the 1980’s: “Woodwinds! You’re not blending!” accompanied by flapping babyhands, might sound familiar. Was it ever followed by instructions on how to blend? No. But when I got to grad school, at one of the first rehearsals the conductor said “Woodwinds. You need to blend better. Take out the vibrato.” Oh. That could have saved us – and him – years of unpleasantness.)
          I would say – school conductors might disagree with me – that the #1 priority is to establish good ensemble habits and solid performances, and work in incandescent interpretations when and as you can. If you’re hoping to turn out professional musicians, you can’t teach them, by commission or omission, that sloppy playing in an orchestra is OK. Just my $.02.

          • A conductor of professional musicians works under the assumption that his/ her musicians already have all those basic skills, but has to know how to tactfully remind them when they are neglecting said skills — and, if those skills are clearly lacking, how to teach them without coming across as condescending.
          On the other hand, with those skills mostly in place, shaping the conductor’s own special, personal, uniquely incandescent interpretation/ hair style can become the #1 priority, so that can be nice.

    • professor says:

      “but the rewards for a community to support their local groups is enormous”

      what would those rewards be exactly? not sure many agree with you

    • Cubs Fan says:

      It’s the old “Those who can. do; those who can’t, teach.” There are some very fine conductors in university programs – but they too often get stereotyped with that mark, and if they were any good they’d be out with the pros making big money. There are some who just don’t want the pressure and stress working with a professional orchestra and enjoy the academic freedom. Instead of 3 or 4 rehearsals for a concert you can have 20 or more. And maybe they know their place. Some of the more renowned conducting teachers, like Hans Swarowsky, Gustav Meier, Elizabeth Green, were fine technicians, but just mediocre conductors compared to some of their students.

      • Bruce says:

        “Those who can, do; those who can’t teach.” Sometimes that’s true. But it makes teaching sound like (a) it’s a poor substitute, and (b) it doesn’t matter.

        It’s one of those simple-sounding sayings that falls apart under examination (or experience), like “Whatever doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.”

        (Who had a bigger impact on violin playing in the 20th century: Galamian as a performer, or Heifetz as a teacher?)

        • Ryan says:

          Those who can, do. Those who UNDERSTAND, teach.

          • Bruce says:

            Oh yes. I like that.

            +1 +1 +1 +1 +1 +1 +1 +1 +1 +1

          • Cubs Fan says:

            That’s certainly true sometimes, and thankfully Reiner, Szell, Bernstein, Koussevitsky and others took time to teach young students in the art of conducting. But we all know it’s not always the case; there are plenty of teachers who neither understand or inspire – I’ve had my share of them. They’re the dreaded “Kapellmeister”. And some are monsters who are frustrated that they never made it to the big time.

          • Bruce says:

            Too true, cubs fan. They may have the job of teacher, but they aren’t actually teachers.

            (Although you can learn a lot from bad teachers about what not do. To paraphrase Khalil Gibran: I have learned kindness from the unkind, generosity from the stingy, and [— I forget the third thing]. Strange, though, I am not grateful to any of those teachers.)

          • Bruce says:

            ^ Ah. I was not even particularly close.

            I have learned silence from the talkative, toleration from the intolerant, and kindness from the unkind; yet, strange, I am ungrateful to those teachers.
            Read more at: https://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/khalil_gibran_125408

    • anon says:

      It is all the more striking that all, I mean ALL, of the world’s top conductors lead their own youth orchestras, many of which they themselves have founded, and they all say they do it because they enjoy it and they think it is their duty to train the next generation, so clearly, they all possess the skills of training/patience/paternalness or maternalness…

      Maybe that is the paradox for American university orchestras, the best students get vacuumed up by these semi-professional youth orchestras all over the world…

      So maybe American university orchestra conductors do fit into this hierarchy… After all, the top conductors all have a side gig as youth orchestra conductors, so they are all in competition for the same pool of talented youths!

      • Saxon Broken says:

        I think it obvious that the top conductors would make excellent conductors of youth orchestras. The top conductors know how to get the orchestra to play well together and can rapidly solve ensemble problems (that is key to what they do). This is core to what conducting is: keeping the orchestra together and balancing the sound. The top conductors are excellent at diagnosing the problems and communicating a solution to the players. Having “an interpretation” is only the final part of the job of a professional conductor.

        Professional conductors, additionally, have to get involved in marketing. In the US, this means sweet-talking the major donors. Even in Europe, where this is less important, they are usually involved in talking to the press, and helping to sell tickets.

  • minacciosa says:

    I don’t own any Dudamel recordings, but I have a number of Boughton’s. Make of that what you will. I have.

    • Chris Clift says:

      And before he took up conducting, William was a more than passable orchestral cellist, playing in, inter alia, The Philharmonia Orchestra in London. He then set up and conducted the English String and Symphony Orchestra, based in Malvern in Worcestershire in England. I performed many times with that ensemble, and played on a number of their recordings.

      Good luck at Yale William!

  • Conducting Feminista says:

    Women conductors are already starting to outnumber men in university ensembles, further demonstrating their superiority over men.

    • Elisabeth Matesky says:

      To Conducting Feminista ~

      Only last evening (10/8/18) we were speaking of those who are enraged re
      political situations & my born in the former USSR pianist made a fine point about ‘It’s ridiculous to say – a woman played the ***** as well as a man! If
      a woman or man plays well this is good. It has nothing to do with gender, & everything to do with Quality.’ (And don’t leave out recent trends)

      In your Reply above you state, “Women are starting to outnumber men in university ensembles, further demonstrating their superiority over men.” Me
      thinks this outdated & harkening back to the initial Gloria Steinem 1960’s/ & ’70’s movement!!! In the Music profession, & the advent of more working women taking University Orchestral Conducting posts, this doesn’t imply Women are Superior to Men Conductor’s or Anything Else’s!! It is sad to see/ read that just because many more women have Opportunity to take Univ. orchestra conducting positions, “they” (women) are ‘superior’ to men’.

      No! It displays a coming together of both men and women to hire the best person for a given University Orchestra Conducting post. It is a yielding in
      realistic & growing maturing faith on the part of both Male & Female that the Best Person be given the opportunity! This is a far cry from Steinem ideas of feminism ~ IMO, I believe we have passed olden prejudice’s of ‘a woman (i.e., solo violinist) can’t play as well as a man.’ And with societal changes has come acceptance of fine women = fine men!

      If one has to continue shouting the outdated mantra, is it possible one living this idea doesn’t believe women truly capable of doing as fine a
      job as men?? Never raised by great violin teacher’s (Jascha Heifetz,
      included), to “play like a Man” or “you play as well as a man” narrative’s,
      I’m saddened to sense this sort of thinking still has a hold on perception’s
      set down above ~ Try competing with your better self & leave (IMO) truly unhealthy attitudes behind … You’ve a wonderful Life to Live! Don’t waste
      one more precious minute to negative-think; ZRUB!! English translation =
      Just Do It!!!!

      With sincere best wishes from this Day Forward!

      E, Matesky *

      *Engaging many more fine women is part of the EOA in America! And,
      while Conductor’s routinely go out into the community, they Must have
      “Exhausted the Printed Page” ~ Quote, Olga Samaroff (If unfamiliar with
      the Score, lack of preparation/performance will be grounds for humiliating
      dismissal, F or M ~ )

  • Elisabeth Matesky says:

    This is startling to an American born Violinist, Chamber Musician & savvy
    Orchestral player, taught by possibly the finest Youth Orchestra Conductor
    in my country, who elevated the orchestral skills of several generations of
    LA born musicians; was enormously praised by the Ysaye Foundation in
    Brussels, by JASTA in Tokyo, ASTA in America (& Nat’l President), who ghost-wrote famed Hollywood Movie Film Scores (ever see ‘Spellbound’?), & possessed Skills + Sports approach to soloist performance/preparation,
    producing Big Time musicians, Gary Karr; Paul Katz (‘Cello founder, S.Q. of Cleveland + Great Teacher); Nathaniel Rosen (‘Cellist, Gold Medalist & winner Tchaikovsky ’78 Int’l Violincello Comp., Moscow, Master Teacher +; Conductor’s, Henry Lewis (late Hubby of Opera Diva, Marilyn Horne); Ronnie Romm (Trumpet/Founder Canadian Brass); Leonard Slatkin; Akira Endo; Michael Tilson Thomas; even Violinist’s, Barry Socher, LA Phil/PDQ Bach ‘Mess Up’!; Percussion, James Colburn, Film Actor; Craig Jessup, Director, Mormon Tabernacle Choir; & raised yours truly from Day 1 to LA Debut in Khachaturian’s Violin Concerto w/Super Power USC Symphony, w/ Solti’s WWII Survivor, Met Cond. = Walter Ducloux, & Jascha Heifetz w/ Gregor Piatigorsky came to hear us, inviting me into his original USC Violin Master Classes, as one of only seven, subsequently filmed as ‘JH normal’ @ USC, now on YouTube, + btw, 2 Galamian pupils in our Jascha Heifetz Violin Master Class, Erick Friedman & Varoujian Kodjian (the latter whom my teacher/father helped contour for his Heifetz audition on Khachaturian & was accepted!) Here is Dad’s Mantra ~ “One can’t teach that which one doesn’t know nor can do ~ ” Ralph Matesky (Juilliard Grad, Dethier pupil, Calvin Coolidge Award recipient; Columbia Univ., Roger Sessions Apostle)

    As one of seven original Heifetz pupil’s, I was struck, figuratively & literally by a comment of ‘Bruce Says’, “Who had a bigger impact on violin playing in the 20th Century: Galamian as a performer, or Heifetz as a Teacher?”

    @Bruce Says ~ Mr. Heifetz never ever taught until, to quote him, “I wanted to play well enough to be able to teach!” & as for Ivan Galamian, he hadn’t real bowing technique to speak of nor artistry as a violinist to inspire ‘How To’s’ in Bach w/reference to Mr. Heifetz, Milstein (my ‘other’ mentor of 3 & 1/2 years, in his Chester Square London home, privately, at minimum twice weekly for over 3 to 4 hours each ‘artist tutorial’, liberating my bowing while colouring JH musical idea’s), David Oistrakh, & a Must Be included, Oscar Shumsky, Eudice Shapiro & JH pianist, Emmauel Bay, passing on JH style
    & innuendi to distinguished pupil’s as Todd Crow, Music Chair, Vassar, and etc.!

    To identify Galamian, infering his playing was as inept as a misguided idea of Jascha Heifetz’s teaching is an assault on Heifetz & select JH pupil’s ~ we seven, Pierre Amoyal, Eugene Fodor, Beverly Somach (access NY’s Saturday Review Mag, 1976, Irving Kolodin: Heifetz at 75), Endre Granat,
    Glenn Dicterow, Ilke Talvi, Paul Rosenthal, Ronald Patterson & JH pianist for years after Brooks Smith, Gerald Robbins, carrying forth Heifetz’s stellar musicality forward into this 21st Century, along w/many JH artist pupil solo concert player’s, fabled Concertmaster’s, major Orchestra player’s & artist teacher’s …

    To be sure, currently, American Musical Education is striving to stay equal to the extraordinary ‘level’s’ of the ’50’s, ’60’s, ’70’s & to 2000, amid rapidly changing Times w/ the advent of Internet musical technology, exposure to world wide, yet mostly ‘civilian’ musical audiences w/many starstruck upon seeing a classical solo, chamber or orchestral musician on YouTube! Many
    have technology savvy to create home-made renditions & post to the Tube,
    without what Pro trained for years view/hear as ‘authentic’ but is fame-seek rather than welcomed by the core int’l classical + professional community ~
    Let it be said, that some ‘home-made’ performances actually cut it & reveal genuine talent/s w/ “I’m in this because this is who I am and what I do no matter what the sacrifices are and may be” ~ As all responding on Lebrecht
    slipped disc.com know, standards are now an endangered species which =
    consistently consummate awareness/thirst by discerning music aficionados
    to think muchly before pressing the Like button going forward ~

    Thanks to All for vibrant international exchange’s on a critical status topic ~

    Musically from


    • Bruce says:


      I just got home from a long day at work and couldn’t make it all the way through your comment. But I did want to say that I didn’t mean Galamian was a terrible violinist (never heard him play or heard of anyone who had heard him play), or that Heifetz was a terrible teacher (obviously not true – those master class videos are enough to make that idea ridiculous). My question was WHO HAD A BIGGER INFLUENCE, IN WHICH ROLE.

      Heifetz as a violinist changed the course of 20th century violin playing: he inspired, and continues to inspire, countless players who never met him to play with greater discipline, rigor, accuracy, and musical integrity. His students were many and very fine, but I would venture to suggest (albeit hesitantly since I’m a little bit afraid of what you might do if I suggest he was mortal) that he did not change the course of 20th century violin TEACHING.

      Galamian, on the other hand (who may have been a very fine violinist for all I know), cemented Juilliard’s reputation as a “factory” for exceedingly well-trained violinists for several decades; and of course his former assistant Dorothy Delay (who may also have been a very fine violinist for all I know) continued his legacy. I would say his influence on 20th century violin teaching, in the sense of how good a student graduating from conservatory was expected to be, was greater than his influence as a performer on the violin.

      I could be wrong though.

  • Elisabeth Matesky says:

    @Bruce Says ~

    Dear Bruce,

    Hearty Thank You’s for your intriguing Question/s posed above which I’ve
    only just read! Short on time, presently, please feel welcome to email me
    c/o my Artist Rep, goldenattorney@hotmail.com, for further views I have on
    the important question/s you’ve raised!!

    Must take my leave presently, but I wish to assure you that you won’t incur my wrath if what you are trying to respectfully write is viewed as Heifetz not
    being Mortal!!! He was close to Immortality whilst on Earth, and ascended Up into, I believe, Immortality and in God’s Kingdom in His ‘Musical Genius
    Section’ ~ We, down here, at least can offer our views and questions about
    Jascha Heifetz, “God’s Fiddler”, truly, without too much condemnation! We
    (myself on this List) don’t wish to offend ‘The God’s’ in offering our up close & professional/personal observances of Heifetz to sincere JH aficionados, & feel privileged to discuss JH with familiar personal acquaintance! This is part of the “Oath of Allegiance” a Heifetz pupil takes, and for Life, when so
    blessed to study with Jascha Heifetz, & to term him ‘a friend’ ~

    I look forward to receipt of a “Bruce Says” email ‘Re Heifetz/Teaching et al’ on the Subject Line c/o my Artist Representative, Dale M. Golden! Make sure to also mark it: “Attention to E. Matesky” ~

    Sending you cordial Week end musical greetings from afar …

    Elisabeth Matesky