I have this vague recollection of working with the conductor. But maybe I’m just imagining this. I have a rather … um … interesting imagination. (It includes having to ask Dan if I graduated from college at one point; I had dreamt, I think, that I didn’t graduate, so my imagination had turned that into truth.) But anyway … any of my long time colleagues (this would have been eons ago) remember this? Or did I dream it? (I’m gonna guess the latter, to be on the safe side!)

Opera Chic snagged an interview with Maestro Conlon. And I’m fairly sure she didn’t dream this one up. Here’s a snippet from the conductor:

I’m against people who present a Mozart symphony and say, “Okay, now I’m going to dissect this work and show you what it really is.” To me it’s a false point of departure. Our job as performers is to surrender our own egos and to completely open ourselves to the work itself and to transmit that work as if we’re not there. This is on the one hand a very easy and simple thing to do. On the other hand, we’re all crippled by our own egos. To me, I’m not interested in knowing what my interpretation is.

When I was studying at The Juilliard School, the big movement was objectivism vs. subjectivism and the popular methodology was, “You have to find your own feelings, your own voice, and you have to find yourself. What’s your take on this piece of music?” Well, I had an allergy to that type of conversation. I thought, “I know what my feelings are and I couldn’t care less what my own feelings are. I want to know what the object is.” Is that objectivism? Well, yes, that’s objectivism. I want to know who Haydn is. I want to know who Beethoven is. I want to know how their music works. How does it fit? Why is it this? And why is it that? And to me, the beauty of that method is that you can devote yourself to the other, and a byproduct of that is that you find yourself. However if you go from the other point of view — the “find yourself” subjectivism — you don’t find the other. It’s very simple — so simple that we don’t do it enough.

Therefore, you can imagine I have a strong sense of resistance to anything that wants to superimpose itself on the work of art. It is our job to serve the work of art, not to make the art a vehicle of ourselves.

So now go over to the OC blog entry and read the whole thing.

1 Comment

  1. He is dead wrong about one of his core notions: “It’s very simple…”

    No. It isn’t.