Via Alex Ross. I was taken here. Conductors say the darndest things! Now some of this is, of course, related to language issues. But I have it on good authority (mine) that most conductors can say things that make us little folk smile. And even guffaw, although we try to hold back. I’m sorry I haven’t kept a journal of things I’ve heard. Some things they say—some metaphors they toss out—are just perfect, too; they can say something I would never think of to get us to produce a certain kind of sound. Really.


  1. “Native folkloric haemiolas that you should have in your Mahler bloods.”

    Yeah, that’s amazing.

    There’s a conductor here who says some outrageous things. Such as:
    “I don’t want to hear you; I just want to feel you.” (yes, really)
    “You’re crescendoing too soon. Please don’t shoot your wad.”
    “Oh, yes, give it to me.”
    And, in the Theme/Variations mvt of Prokofiev’s 2nd piano concerto, which uses rehearsal numbers instead of letters:
    “Let’s start with my favorite variation–” (Yes, you can guess what number.)

    The best part? He has no clue that what he’s saying has any off-color meaning. Very entertaining.

  2. Patricia Mitchell

    Oh wow … those are pretty unbelievable. Do the musicians manage to keep straight faces, or is that impossible?