Neurotic, Weak, and Ultramodern: Coded Language in Gestural Criticism
Presented at the Oxford Conducting Institute International Conducting Studies Conference, June 2021
Gustav Mahler was famously depicted as ‘Ein hypermoderner Dirigent’ in a set of caricatures by Hans Schliessmann that portray Mahler as ‘fidgeting bundle of nerves’. Whatever truth there may have been in these depictions, excessive nervousness and being ‘modern’ have since been shown to be coded antisemitism. More than ninety years later, Marin Alsop would also suggest that a ‘delicate’ gesture from a male conductor would likely be perceived as ‘too feminine’ from a female conductor. It is perhaps no coincidence, then, that ‘feminine’ was also used as coded antisemitism in fin-de-siècle Vienna. This paper seeks to demonstrate that there is a coded language of discrimination present in certain critiques of conducting gesture. Coded gestural critiques share many features, whether they refer to race in the nineteenth century or to gender in the twenty-first. This paper traces changing cultural biases and the striking similarity of coded gestural critique through such change. In so doing, this paper seeks to heighten awareness of gestural critique as a refuge for discrimination and concludes by suggesting specifically musical means of interrogating that discrimination.
“Understanding Editions: Using CPDL and IMSLP to Develop Early Music Intuition” in The Choral Conductor’s Companion, ed. Brian Winnie
Purchase a copy through GIA
One hundred powerful rehearsal techniques and ideas passionately shared by leading expert choral pedagogues, composers, conductors, vocologists, music therapists, researchers, speech-language pathologists, studio teachers, and professional practitioners. Each quick-to-read, insightful article includes fascinating facts about famous composers and conductors, thoughtful motivational quotes, and suggested additional reading selections. It’s an excellent university text and “go-to” source for choral conductor-teachers at all levels.
The Economic, Aesthetic, and Nonprofit Organization of the Performing Arts: Toward a Theory of the Performing Arts
This study utilizes a combination of resource-based research and field observation with five anonymous ensembles, all of which are exemplars of professional vocal ensemble performance. After an introduction, chapter 2 deals with matters of professionalism in choral performance. Chapter 3 presents basic economic concerns and offers a new definition of economic output in the performing arts. Chapter 4 works within that definition by quantifying and qualifying aspects of the presentation of artworks and developing audience relationships. Chapter 5 suggests means of structuring professional ensembles through designing effective performance events. Finally, chapter 6 closes the study by applying theories discussed in chapters 3–5 to the practical and strategic management of professional vocal ensembles.
Professional vocal ensembles have few published resources to assist their managers in navigating the economic and societal currents of the performing arts. Yet, professional choral performance is growing across America. This study seeks to theorize and codify the practices of professional vocal ensembles as they balance musicianship with organizational efficacy and financial security. Theoretical concerns of today’s performing arts are addressed in the areas of economics, aesthetics, audience relationships and development, organizational structure, and strategic management. Discussions in these areas are necessarily interdisciplinary because so are the professional performing arts. Conclusions are drawn to suggest successful practices and philosophies professional ensembles can adopt to better their operations.