Maestros and Their Music: The Art and Alchemy of Conducting


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John Mauceri, who has stood on podiums before storied symphonies, operas, and ballets around the world, brings a lifetime of experience to bear in this informative, brilliantly entertaining exploration of his profession. As Mauceri traces the lineage of his craft, from Felix Mendelssohn (the first to use a baton) to the present day, he shows us how conducting is itself a composition: of legacy and tradition, of techniques handed down—and more than a trace of ineffable magic.
Weaving clear musical explanations together with memorable accounts of working alongside masters like Bernstein and Stokowski, Mauceri reveals how conductors approach a piece with a combination of personal interpretation, imagination, and insight into the composer’s intent; what it takes to communicate solely through gesture, with sometimes hundreds of performers at once; and the occasionally glamorous, often challenging life of the itinerant maestro. Illuminating and instructive, inflected with candor, humor, and grace, Maestros and Their Music is the perfect guide to the allure and theater, passion and drudgery, rivalries and relationships of the conducting life.


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