Sep 22, 2011
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Should conductors speak to audiences? The short answer is, it depends on the conductor.
The late, great Leonard Bernstein did it frequently, and brilliantly: few have matched his particular combination of charm, eloquence, and passionate engagement with whatever musical subject he happened to be talking about.
JoAnn Falletta, the UO’s new principal conductor, was a pupil of Bernstein, and she too was talking yesterday – to the Ulster Hall audience at the UO’s “taster” concert for season 2011–12.
She was just dandy – deftly introducing each piece from the podium, name–checking orchestral soloists, flagging up important dates in the orchestra’s diary. Some like this kind of pall–iness, some are more resistant, preferring to peruse the programme notes or just listen unimpeded to the music.
It would be interesting to know what those present at last night’s concert thought of JAF’s verbal contributions. My own feeling? The UO now have a born communicator conducting them. They should use her.