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How to be a Maestro

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Ellen West - web producer | 15:22 UK time, Monday, 8 September 2008

Tomorrow night sees the final of BBC Two's crash course in conducting, Maestro. It's been good fun, and has concentrated on the music rather than the celebrities - a definite plus in my book - but I wanted more of an insight into why a performance was good or bad. An action replay of a couple of moments where the student conductor was performing well or badly, plus commentary, would have been extremely instructive. The idea is not an obvious crowd-pleaser, but it might have been a good option for the red button or website for those who are as interested in what makes for a good conductor as who gets through to the next round. My vote's with Goldie. The winner will conduct the BBC Concert Orchestra at the London version of BBC Proms in the Park.

goldie_maestro.jpgImage of Goldie © BBC/Mark Allan

If the series has awakened an interest in conducting then visit The Barbican in London on Thursday 2 October for the final of the Donatella Flick Conducting Competition. Taking place every two years, the competition not only awards the winner £15,000 but even more impressively grants them the role of assistant conductor of the London Symphony Orchestra for a year. Only members of the EU can enter, and you need to be under 35 - just in case you are considering putting in an application.


  • 1. At 09:10am on 10 Sep 2008, David Foulger wrote:

    I am afraid that I found this programme totally cringe making. Conducting an orchestra requires years of experience, witness Abbado, Barenboim, Boulez etc. If these people are unable to read a musical score,cannot to tell if the instruments are playing in tune, co-ordinate all the elements of music together, and convey this to an orchestra of 70 musicians, who probably know their job better than you do, then you have no business standing on a rostrum. My sympathies to the judges, who were obviously struggling to be nice, I hope that they were paid well, but as link man Clive Anderson was excruciating, with a sense of humour, which ran the gamut from schoolboy to inane.

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  • 2. At 2:13pm on 10 Sep 2008, EllenW-web_producer wrote:

    Did you think the programme was completely pointless then? Was there no merit in the fact that the show possibly opened up conducting to people who rarely listen to classical music? As somebody who knows little about conducting I found that it told me plenty I didn't know. What would you recommend as a way in to understanding something of conducting for the lay person? I do rather like Radio 3's CD Review and find that the items on orchestral discs tells me quite a bit because they are backed up with extracts.

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