Working with Conductors: Natural Balance

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When playing a concerto, the string soloist is rarely fully in charge – and working with opinionated conductors means that sometimes disagreements will occur. Charlotte Gardner speaks to three top performers and a conductor to find out how to strike the right balance

As ironies go, the concerto must be one of the playing world’s most potent. On the one hand, it’s probably the most prestigious vehicle through which a soloist can make their mark on the musical world. On the other hand, the presence of a conductor – arguably the one wearing the driving gloves – with views of their own simultaneously makes it the musical performance over which a soloist has the least control. So what do you do if your ideas aren’t chiming as harmoniously as a perfect 5th with those of your conductor? And what are the actions and attitudes that will see you through the toughest situations? I’ve posed these questions to leading artists drawn from different generations, including Lucerne Festival Orchestra chief conductor James Gaffigan.

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