Strange Conducting Stories

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    David Ice on #148515

    After coming off 5 concerts in 2 days, I’m struck by how many conductors have bizzare technique or no clue how to conduct instrumentalists.

    Anybody else have oddball stories about conductors?

    Like the conductor who conducted 6/8 as circles.

    tonya-a on #148516

    “Open, open, fold, fold…..”

    That is the funniest thing I’ve heard in a long time.

    John McK on #148517

    In college, I was part of the early music group that did a Renaissance dinner-theater show once a year after Christmas.

    Once, during a dress rehearsal, the conductor stood on her hands and conducted with her feet. . . .

    David Ice on #148518

    Now THAT would be an ad for Dr. Scholls!

    kreig-kitts on #148519

    At one choral concert, the conductor queued the alto section at one tricky point

    harp guy on #148520

    Oh jeez, don’t even get me started. I play under a conductor regularly who is a complete disaster story. Here’s one to get an idea:

    After rehearsing a piece for half an hour he looked at the horn section and said: “What? You mean you’ve been playing a completely different piece and I didn’t even know it?”

    He had the wrong score, and the horns had the wrong piece out.

    What a hack job. I’ve got dozens of stories. Like when he got drunk on cough syrup because he drank two bottles at the beginning of a recording session.


    carl-swanson on #148521

    A regulator you all know told me the following joke this past weekend.

    The phone rings in the front office of a symphony orchestra and the receptionist picks it up. The voice on the other end says “May I please speak to the conductor?” “I’m sorry” she says, but the conductor died this past week.” The caller hangs up.

    Five minutes later the phone rings again. “May I please speak to the conductor?” the caller again asks. “Sir, I’m sorry, but the conductor died this past week.” The caller again hangs up.

    Five minutes later the phone rings again. “May I please speak to the conductor?” “Sir, i’ve told you twice now that the conductor died last week.”

    “I know,” the caller says. “I just get so much pleasure hearing you say it.”

    rosalind-beck on #148522

    Good news:

    carl-swanson on #148523

    When I was living in France ions ago, I lived with a French family for a while and both the husband and wife were professional musicians. My French was awful at the time, and one day the wife was telling me about the gig she had played the night before and the awful conductor. She said that he kept screaming at the orchestra “Regardez la bagette!! Regardez la bagette!!!” I knew the word bagette as a long thin loaf of French bread, and only realized then that bagette really meant ‘stick.’ But I had this image in my head of a conductor standing in front of the orchestra conducting with a loaf of French bread. I still get that image when I think of that story.

    David Ice on #148524

    Oh, all of those are too rich.

    carl-swanson on #148525

    I heard Leonard Slatkin tell this joke:

    A man walks into a butcher shop and looks over the meat in the case. He sees a platter of meat and a sign that says ‘Calves brains- $2 per pound.’ Next to it is another platter with the sign ‘Conductors brains-$200 a pound.’ Mystified, he ask the clerk why the conductor’s brains are so much more expensive. ” Do you know how many conductors it takes to get 1 pound of brains?”

    David Ice on #148526

    Oh Carl, that is the BEST ONE YET!!!!!

    carl-swanson on #148527

    Then there’s the one about the cafeteria in Heaven. All the angels are standing in line, tray in hand, waiting patiently to get their food when a very old man with a long white beard pushes, shoves, and elbows his way to the front of the line. One of the younger angels says to an older one “Who the heck is that??” The older angel responds, “Him? Oh, that’s God. He thinks he’s a conductor.”

    rosalind-beck on #148528

    A judge, the pope, and a conductor are all bragging about the respect accorded them.

    Mel Sandberg on #148529

    The conductor was ranting at the side-drum player who did something wrong and finished off with something like – “well no wonder, whenever a musician can’t measure up to scratch, they take his instrument away, give him 2 sticks and put him at the back of the orchestra”.

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