Roads Not Taken: 11 Conductors Tell Us What Else They Might Have Been

By James Bennet II and Max Fine, WQXR New York Blog

There’s something magical about watching a conductor at work — how they internalize the work before them in all its component parts, in turn uniting the ensemble and bringing the music to life. It seems an almost superhuman effort. But conductors are human too, and like the rest of us, sometimes they think about what else they might have done instead of walking onto a podium with their baton.

We asked eleven of them what other career paths they might have taken. Here’s what they had to say.

“I envision myself a neuroscientist, studying the effect of classical music on brain development; how we are changed as performers, students, listeners and ultimately as members of a civil society. I believe we would show its value to humanity and society, an essential component of education, as important as Math, English and the Sciences; even its role in peace-making, and the optimal wiring of our minds. Invigorated by my work as a neuroscientist, and inspired by nature and the animal world, I would spend the weekends as an environmental scientist / conservationist who is also a pilot, free like a bird to explore the beauty of our planet.”

 

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