UK: BRAIN FOOD - Matters for the mind to chew on - Unlikely managers.

UK: BRAIN FOOD - Matters for the mind to chew on - Unlikely managers. - Conductor, Milton Keynes Orchestra, City of London Choir.

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Last Updated: 31 Aug 2010

Conductor, Milton Keynes Orchestra, City of London Choir.

Edited by RHYMER RIGBY: rhymer.rigby@haynet.com.

Name: Hilary Davan Wetton

When did you become a manager? At 17, when I became a conductor. It has always involved managerial as well as musical skills.

What does management mean to you? It means motivating whoever you are directing to achieve the best possible performance. Different types of musician need a matching management style: a sensitive oboe player, for example, will need to be given room for self-expression, whereas some brass players respond better to a more robust approach. However you can never bully a musician into a really inspiring performance. That can only be produced by singers or players who are convinced about what they're doing. In a sense, a conductor has to manage the audience, too. You are always aware of your audience's reaction both in terms of concentration and emotional response. One of the best measures of success is how long an audience will hold a silence after a quiet ending; if you get five or six seconds of magical silence, you know you have held their attention.

What do you love/hate about it? I love the sense of adventure you can achieve if you have a really good relationship with an orchestra or a choir and are able to do spontaneous and unexpected things during a performance.

I hate the socially destructive hours of work.

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