University of Southern California

As a featured performer with the Grammy Award winning, conductor less Orpheus Chamber Orchestra, NYC, 1978 – 2013, I was invited by the Thornton School of Music/University of Southern California during the Fall of 2013 to be a facilitator and coach of the USC Chamber Orchestra, guiding the students in rehearsals for their opening concert which they performed without a conductor. Working without a conductor was confusing for the students at first but ultimately empowered them to have control of all decisions in the music making process including giving their own cues, interpretation of the music and deciding dynamics, tempi and balance, which they had to figure out for themselves.

It was exciting watching the students become actively involved in making music instead of just being told what to do by the conductor.  For these 70 students the process of learning to collaborate – to listen, to be willing to try other colleagues suggestions and ultimately to respect one another – made their rehearsals successful and they performed on a very high level.