The question of just what a symphony orchestra maestro actually does led to an unexpected answer about leadership on a YouTube interview. According to the 59-year-old Paavo Jarvi, a conductor is essentially a teacher, regardless of the quality of the players. That, more than his artistic vision or temperament or divine inspiration or managerial skills.
It had me thinking about the best bosses I’ve had and realizing their excellence was as teachers.
How about you? What do you look for in a leader?
By the way, I was rather startled when I came across Paavo’s age. I still think of him as a “young” conductor, one of Max Rudolf’s last students.
He’s now the age Dr. Rudolf was as music director of the Cincinnati Symphony orchestra, a fine ensemble Paavo later directed for a decade before turning his attention to Europe.
One thought on “A musician’s insight on leadership”
It’s true. A conductor leads everyone, from the musical savant to the beginners in the orchestra.