The Modern Conductor

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  • Edition: 7th
  • Format: Hardcover
  • Copyright: 2003-12-29
  • Publisher: Pearson

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Written in a clear style that speaks directly to the serious conducting student, The Modern Conductor, Seventh Edition, maintains Dr. Elizabeth A.H. Green's time-honored approach to conducting technique while offering new insights into opera conducting, career-building, and score study. Building on the concept of conducting as a time-space activity, co-author Mark Gibson clarifies the pedagogical ideas of the legendary Russian maestro, Nicolai Malko, as first put forth by Dr. Green. The Seventh Edition incorporates into Malko's classic approach a heightened emphasis on the role of the conductor and the non-technical skills that the aspiring conductor must acquire to prepare for a podium career in the twenty-first century. Among the topics included are: bull; The Usefulness of the Baton Expressive Gestures "Zig-Zag" Audition/Rehearsal Checklist The student will attain insights into handling contemporary scores and unconventional notation, as well as instrumental and choral conducting and aspects of advanced musicianship in relation to wind ensemble, orchestra and chorus. Important concepts and terms are highlighted to enable the reader to find them quickly. Exercises and drills are included in the text to reinforce critical concepts and skills.

Author Biography

Mark Gibson. Director of Orchestral Activities at the College-Conservatory of Music (CCM), University of Cincinnati, Mark Gibson enjoys a distinguished podium career both as a performer on the concert stage and in the opera pit and as a teacher and observer of the craft of conducting. As professor of ensembles and conducting at CCM, he serves as music director of the CCM Philharmonia Orchestra, one of the world's leading conservatory orchestras, and heads CCM's program in orchestral conducting. During the summers, Mr. Gibson serves as co-artistic director and conductor of the Opera Theatre and Music Festival of Lucca (Italy), sponsored by the University of Cincinnati.

Sought after both for conducting master classes and orchestral appearances, Mr. Gibson has been invited as guest professor of conducting at the Central Conservatory of Music, Beijing, the Hochschule fur Musik and Theater, Munich, and the Indiana University School of Music, visiting professor of conducting and ensembles at the Eastman School of Music.

A former Tanglewood conducting fellow, Mr. Gibson pursued conducting studies with Gustav Meier, Seiji Ozawa and Leonard Bernstein. He attended the University of Minnesota, studying piano with Paul Freed before earning his B.M. in piano at the New England Conservatory of Music with Theodore Lettvin. His conducting and opera studies began with Gustav Meier at the University of Michigan, from which he earned a M.M. degree.

His students occupy podiums around the world, including Xian Zhang, first prizewinner of the inaugural Maazel/Vilar Conductors' Competition.

Prior to joining the faculty of CCM, Mr. Gibson was principal conductor of the Alabama Symphony Orchestra, a regular guest conductor with the New York City Opera, and resident conductor of the Gran Teatre del Liceu, Barcelona.

Table of Contents

The Art of Conducting
So You Want to Be a Conductor?
The Conductor: Basic Time-Beating
The Baton
Two, One, Six, Five, and Subdivided Beats
The Expressive Gestures
Phrasing, Tempo Changes
Developing the Left Hand
The Fermata
Beyond Two, Three, Four and Six: Twentieth-Century Innovations
Melding and the Virtuoso Technique
Score Study
Clefs and Transpositions
Instrumental Conducting: Orchestra and Band Scores
Choral Conducting
Conductor as Collaborator: Opera and Concerto
Applied Musicianship: Band, Orchestra, Chorus
Memorizing the Score; Performing the Score
Seating Charts
Classification of Bowings
Terminology for the Conductor
The Training Exercises in Sequence
Table of Contents provided by Publisher. All Rights Reserved.


Preface and Foreword to the Seventh EditionOne attempts a major revision and new edition of this classic conducting textbook with considerable trepidation. Many conductors of my generation have been influenced by Dr. Green's approach to the craft. Yet as I worked through the book, no longer as a student but as a teacher myself, I did notice some holes that needed to be discreetly filled in. Maestro Malko's detailed and rigorous explanation of baton technique, a model for decades, remains essentially untouched, as are the training exercises. Included are expanded sections devoted to score study, opera conducting, rehearsing, dealing with new scores and composers, and advice on establishing a professional career. Chapter 1 has been maintained intact, preserving the spirit of Dr. Green's message. Some references to conductors of the past have been replaced by more timely examples. Acknowledging that there are several paths to the mastery of our demanding craft, I have opted on occasion for a less dogmatic approach. If I could add one general notion to Dr. Green's teaching, it would be that the conductor strives for CLARITY OF INTENT as well as CLARITY OF BEAT. This concept appears in various forms throughout the revised text.I would like to express gratitude to Professor Douglas Lowry, Dean of the College-Conservatory of Music, University of Cincinnati, for his support and encouragement of this project; to my conducting colleagues at CCM, especially Professor Xian Zhang, Professors of Choral Studies Dr. Earl Rivers, Dr. Stephen Coker and Dr. John Leman, and Professors of Wind Studies Rodney Winther and Dr. Terry Milligan for their assistance and advice. Special thanks to my secretary, Rose Hensley, to my wife, Kirstin Greenlaw, who as a concertmaster sees the conductor's every flaw, especially mine, and to my teacher and mentor, Gustav Meier, who taught me virtually all of what I know about our art. At PrenticeHall, my thanks go out to Christopher Johnson and Evette Dickerson for their patience and gentle insistence, to Debra Priest for trying to keep me on path of proper usage, and to Frank Weihenig, at Prepare, Inc., for bringing it all home.The challenge of reconciling my own approach to conducting with Dr. Green's has been revealing and enlightening. I have learned about our craft in the process--it is my hope that the reader will learn as much or more through Dr. Green's book as focused through my eyes. The Nature of ConductingAt the College-Conservatory of Music, we talk often about the nature of conducting. In preparing this edition ofThe Modern Conductor,it occurred to me that while much is written about how to conduct, little is understood either of why it is necessary or what function it serves.On the most basic level, the conductor is responsible for communicating information about moment of attack and tempo. These two unglamorous questions, "When do we come in?" and "How fast does this go?" lie at the core of the craft, before any question of interpretation, inspiration, architecture, or emotional depth--in short, art--can be addressed.The conductor's first service is to answer the above questions. A string quartet can begin together with the nod of the first violinist's head. The same gesture simply will not be read by the bass trombone from the back of a large symphony orchestra. Similarly, a baton has no intrinsic artistic value or need. We use the baton because it is more easily seen by a large group than our hands are.While an ensemble may agree on principles of execution, specific issues--tempo, dynamics, sound, mood, mode of playing, balance--could be the subject of more than 100 well-intended, valid, but opposing views. Our string quartet may be able to discuss and agree on interpretative issues, but an orchestral open forum would obviously prove impossible. Thus the conductor is called upon to decide t

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