I gave up tennis at 15 to become a conductor

I gave up tennis at 15 to become a conductor


norman lebrecht

August 13, 2021

Marie Jacquot, first Kapellmeister at the Deutsche Oper am Rhein in Düsseldorf und Duisburg, was all set to become a professional tennis player until the baton caught her eye.

She tells Deutschlandfunk: ‘Tennis made me lots of friends. But at some point the game receded and all that remained was the pressure to be better. Only this fighting aspect and no longer the joy of playing.’

I’ve heard maturing conductors say the same about their craft.

Read on here.


  • PianistW says:

    That is the problem with many conductors: their eyes get caught by the baton, not their ears get caught by the music.

  • Alphonse says:

    Great- just what the world needs- another conductor…

    No one should look into conducting until they have risen through the ranks and proved their mettle as a player. That’s not to say one must be a virtuoso- but let me just say that I personally knew the music Director of one of Florida’s premiere orchestras when he was a post-grad student, and he was not functional on any instrument and knew shockingly little about music. But he looked the part of the pretty-boy “maestro”, got an assistant conductorship at the New York Phil, and the rest is history. It’s all ego and empty theatrics.

  • Karl says:

    Tennis players are often done by age 30. She could have played until 30 then switched. Or can you make time for both like Deion Sanders did with football and baseball? That would be cool. She’s out of control!

  • Gustavo says:

    Like tennis, conducting is all about moving air.

    There is factually no difference.

  • Sir David Geffen-Hall says:

    I quit the music business to become a conductor.

  • Mark Mortimer says:

    I’m thinking of giving up conducting to become a Tennis Player

  • Larry W says:

    Not so different. In one, you play on a court and use a racket. In the other, you hold court and play in a racket.

  • BRUCEB says:

    To be fair, it’s an article from the sports section. They just kind of mention she studied music all along and played trombone, and leave it at that. They don’t pay much attention to what she did after quitting tennis, just “voilà! And now she’s a conductor!”