Sunday, November 18, 2007

A Conductor and an Epiphany

Last night, as part of my day in DC, I went to a performance of the National Symphony Orchestra. Of all the pieces that they played, the most stunning and sublime was a performance of Rimsky-Korsakov's Scheherazade. Incredible does not even begin to describe it - it is one of those things that you have to experience in the moment and words do not suffice afterwards.

The most fascinating thing though while watching the performance was how my eye was constantly drawn back to the conductor. Even during the soloist performances throughout the piece, I kept watching the conductor. There is something so memorizing about the conductor to me. Perhaps it is because during my long love of classical music, I become so familiar with a piece of music that I sometimes pretend that I am the conductor, bringing in the different instruments at the exact time, creating the mood of the piece, setting the tempo of the performance.

While watching the conductor, and simultaneously wishing that I was a conductor, I realized that is what I want to do - I want to be the conductor! I don't want to be the violin virtuoso or the lead soloist - I want to be the conductor, directing the piece of music, bringing all the instruments together to create one harmonious sound. I don't like too much dissonance in my works - but a feeling of harmony, of lushness, of power, of such majesty that it gives you goosebumps when you hear it. I want to be the one directing the big picture. I know all the pieces and the instruments and I see them working together as a whole. I respect my soloists but I also need all the other parts of the orchestra to make the piece work. No one instrument or person is ultimately more important than the other. I am the guide for the work - I make the orchestra come together as one.

That realization, coupled with my experience in Italy this past year, is evolving my thinking and helping me to realize that I want to be a leader and that I can be a leader. I want to be a leader that brings people together to work as one whole, a team of people to create something of beauty and greatness. A leader that works through the dissonances to create a magical harmony that gives goosebumps to those that experience it. A teacher that can guide the soloists into one body. A big picture visionary.

A bend in the journey? Or a sign that is along the way? Whichever it is, at least I feel some definitity...

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