Developing Trust Through Music

During the Covid-19 pandemic, Quarantine Classics ( and the Norwegian conducting programme Dirigentløftet teamed up with leading conductors in sharing sessions to inspire young conductors and music students while the world was at a halt. James Gaffigan, Chief Conductor of the Lucerne Symphony Orchestra and Principal Guest Conductor of the Netherlands Radio Philharmonic Orchestra (2021), contributed with a piece that we think deserves to be read and shared in the conducting community. It is called “Developing Trust Through Music” and is in three parts: Trust, the Rehearsal Process and the Performance.

Part 1 – Trust

The dynamic within a symphony orchestra is a microcosm of the world we live in. It is made up of a diverse group of individuals playing different instruments. There is variation in age, experience, gender, ethnicity, political leanings, religion, and more. However, when mobilized in a rehearsal or performance, these very different people function as one organism. Musicians create sound “live” – in the moment – listening and blending. They simultaneously look at their music, their colleagues and the conductor; orchestral playing is chamber music on the grandest scale. 

When it comes to producing a great performance, there is no formula, but there are important criteria to attend to:

• Preparation
• Technique
• Listening/reacting


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