Conductors are required to submit credentials in Florida

Conductors are required to submit credentials in Florida


norman lebrecht

January 21, 2022

The Southwest Florida Symphony is being commendably transparent in choosing its next music director.

It called in an industry veteran, Bob Moir, to draw up a shortlist and has now asked each of the candidates to pitch for the job in a regional newspaper.

For example:

How she describes her conducting style: “I aim for concerts that are above all, vibrant and engaged,” she says. “With music-making, I fervently seek vital, passionate, thrilling performances always, in every genre, whether it is a Mahler symphony or a Frank Sinatra song or a narrated fantasy piece for a third-grade audience.

“In addition to vitality and passion, I bring accessibility and warmth in my approach to music.”

Why she’d make a good music director for the symphony: Jackson says she values listening and constantly seeks to connect with others. She says she’ll approach the audiences, musicians and symphony staff “with respect and as my cherished partners with valuable impressions — feedback that will inevitably make me better at what I do and bring to Fort Myers.”

More here.


  • Jeffrey Biegel says:

    Bob Moir is a veteran of the orchestral administrative world, and one of our most respected administrators. He will get the job done considering today’s environment and community awareness.

    • John W. Norvis says:

      It may be a win for the administrator but what musician – even in a directional orchestra – would have any respect for whoever gets this job?

  • Ich bin Ereignis says:

    Sounds like applying for a corporate job. Somehow I’m finding the idea of a Kleiber or Bruno Walter listing their credentials as rather ridiculous. It speaks volumes as to the status of classical music in the US nowadays, which is really closer to an administrative position vs. actual artistry. It’s all about public image, likeability, extreme conformity, and above all not rocking the boat too much.

    • Peter San Diego says:

      I tend to agree, but one must remember that a Walter or Kleiber would not be applying for the Fort Myers position. The applicants will be generally at a much earlier point in their careers, with a lower profile, and will need to work to create enthusiasm in the community. (That said, I don’t find Ms. Jackson’s comments, at least those excerpted here, persuasive — but I wouldn’t judge the process based on that set of comments.)

    • Anonymous says:

      I agree, but unfortunately this isn’t new. It’s been like this for decades. Orchestra administrations hire managers, not artists. They need people who are adept at fundraising, can play a round of golf with the boys (or girls), and can give an impression of leadership with the orchestra. That impression might need a smidge of artistry, but the training for conductors these days is all around efficiency and clarity of technique. Both of those are important, but the problem is that most, including Laura Jackson, have nothing compelling to say about these great works of art as an artist.

      The system and the doofus administrators (as well as the ASOL/LOA) that reward (even seek out) this shallow musicianship have ruined orchestral music in America. They (along with other factors) have basically homogenized the entire art form. It is in fact possible to sell tickets without selling out.

      After looking at the list of candidates, which was pretty disappointing, I really hope they look at the local musician and not the corporates. He’d probably be the most appreciative of the chance, and the most likely to use his role (with mentorship) to grow his career.

  • RW2013 says:

    Grumpy old bald men with bad teeth and 40 years international experience need not apply.

  • John W. Norvis says:

    Avoid any post that requires this kind of begging.

  • Anthony Sayer says:

    Where did you find that cheesy picture?

  • Michael Lemieux says:

    My pick would be Mulligan.

    • RW2013 says:

      Age: Mulligan didn’t provide his age
      How he describes his conducting style: Mulligan didn’t comment on this topic in written responses to interview questions.
      Why he’d make a good music director for the symphony: Mulligan didn’t comment on this topic.

      • John W. Norvis says:

        Sketchy geographical knowledge in his answer to programming.
        “[Beethoven’s 7th]… which we thought would pair well both with music from Copland’s ‘Appalachian Spring’ — which depicts a wedding celebration out on the midwestern prairie —”

        Appalachia in the midwest?

    • Sir David Geffen-Hall says:

      I agree. that way when a musician makes a mistake, he/she can ask for a “Mulligan”

  • Kathleen H Boyer says:

    Great idea!

  • William Boughton says:

    I would expect no-less from the last chance saloon of life State that is Florida.

  • Paul Dawson says:

    The sample quoted carries even less content than the personal statements I had to read when considering applicants to a university degree I was running. It can be summarised as “Firmly in favour of virtue. Definitely opposed to vice.”

  • Brian Brown says:

    That’s definitely a big win for the consultant they hired. The longer the search goes, the more money he makes.

  • Sir David Geffen-Hall says:

    the words “industry veteran” and choosing a music director always scare me.

    We don’t need more pundits in a business where there are already too many false prophets.

  • CarlD says:

    I like the idea of announcing the short list and giving them concerts. I don’t like the idea of making public any questionnaire, which leads to pandering with promises of Sinatra-song concerts and the like.

  • Anonymous says:

    Laura Jackson studied at the University of Michigan. I wonder what she knows about all of the past abuse there.