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Redefining the Conductor’s Role in New Music

Increasing experimentation, the consideration of non-musical criteria, and varying and often contradictory visions from artistic directors, the audience, composers, and musicians have drastically changed the manner in which the conductor’s role is fulfilled in new music (i.e. a sliding scope of responsibility.) Within this field, the definition of a conventional conductor as a leader in all things musical and otherwise, is no longer adequate. This ambiguity presents a quandary for performance practice in new music for which no clear resolutions have yet been formulated.

This research proposes to systematically approach through score analysis and in-depth interviews and investigate by way of case studies what has been experienced anecdotally in artistic practice. The project aims to specifically identify and define a scope of responsibilities for performance practice of conductors in new music and through application, contribute to a continuing improvement of the art.

What is the conductor’s role today performing in the context of a professional ensemble specializing in integrative concerts and new music?

Image: Igor Ripak