Advice From Jorma Panula

Jorma Panula is a Finnish conductor, composer, and teacher of conducting. He was the artistic director and chief conductor of the Turku Philharmonic Orchestra from 1963 to 1965, the Helsinki Philharmonic Orchestra from 1965 to 1972 and the Aarhus Symphony from 1973 to 1976. Today, though he is in high demand as a guest conductor throughout the world, he has limited his podium appearances greatly during the past ten years devoting his time mostly to composition and pedagogy. As a pedagogue, he has served as Professor of Conducting at the Sibelius Academy in Helsinki from 1973 to 1994 and at the Royal College of Music in Stockholm and the Royal Danish Academy of Music in Copenhagen.

One of Panula’s pedagogical mottos is:  Help, but don’t get in the way!

You can read more about this, and other advice on how to behave (and not behave!) as a conductor in this text, put together by Finnish conductor Jukka Iisakkila:

“Some conductors have all kinds of equipment with which they pretend to show their importance: towels, attention arousing stuff like baton cases, watches and other junk to get extra notice. Avoid all of this. Be a player among players. Speak clearly and calmly. Respect people. Don’t imitate the player’s mistakes. Keep talking to a minimum.  Posture should be as natural as possible, characteristic of the music, same with gestures.”

Jorma Panula

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