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What fun!

I’m so happy. I was invited to be Music Director again of the wonderful New Hampshire Music Festival! I was Music Director from 1992-2009, appointed Conductor Laureate in 2012 and am now MD again. The new administrative regime of John Thompson, Deb Kosits and Brad Dumont is terrific and they are warm, communicative people I like very much.

And the orchestra is still “my” orchestra made up of highly talented musicians, most of whom played with me for years. We were very close and now we will continue that strong musical and personal relationship.

As we move into the future, I predict a new Golden Age for the Festival, set in one of America’s most beautiful natural landscapes. Marsha, our 2 dogs and I are looking forward once again to our summers in the New Hampshire mountains!

Paul Polivnick Video Link

Haydn                      Symphony #95, last movement

William Kraft         Vintage Renaissance

Tchaikovsky           Symphony #5, finale

Carnegie Mellon University Philharmonic

Paul Polivnick, guest conductor

October 18, 2015


Do Music Directors Have to Leave?

Today I saw a post on Facebook about Music Directors leaving their posts after a few years and “nobody seems to care.” The days when Ormandy spent 40 years in Philadelphia,  Szell’s long tenure in Cleveland, Karajan’s in Berlin, etc.  appear to be over.  While these are amazing accomplishments, Ormandy and Szell were part of an autocratic era where their “rule”  could not be questioned. If their players got upset with them, they had to suppress their reactions or face termination. And in the case of Karajan, he insisted from his 1st contract that it be “for life” in order to make him completely immune to what ANYONE thought of him.

In today’s more humane conductor/orchestra era, if a Music Director wants to remain in good communication with his players and see the affinity grow over time, all concerned have to handle the “little” upsets and harmful acts that occur regularly as they happen, whether intentionally committed or not. If they are not addressed and the upsets regularly blown off, they will grow until affinity and communication seriously deteriorates. The 1st “solution” is for the MD to get out of town for a long enough period to let the upsets die down (one factor in why MDs like to guest conduct other orchestras!). Eventually it gets so bad that they simply “have to move on.”

Just like in any long term interpersonal relationship, if it began with high affinity, interest and communication–why does it degenerate over time? The answer is that it doesn’t have to. And the best guarantee that it won’t is to clean up the little upsets and harmful acts as they occur. Of course, for this to work there has to be a high level of trust between all concerned. There can be no fear of negative repercussion as a result of honesty.

The ideal scene is a for a Music Director and orchestra to start with a fine relationship and see that it grows from there on out.



Paul Polivnick
Contact Paul at 727-298-8182

Contact Paul at 727-298-8182

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