PT4: Probing the Score with Mark Mandarano

Last year I stumbled upon the perfect opener to my chamber recital on a CD by the Sinfonietta of Riverdale, a premier chamber orchestra founded and led by Mark Mandarano. Initially I contacted Mandarano to get some advice for conducting the piece and for starting an ensemble, but what he shared was so insightful and helpful that I just had to have him on the podcast for a full interview. Little did I know that our discussion would go beyond starting an ensemble and conducting chamber music and so far into the realm of score study! So, put your headphones in and learn how to get Esa-Pekka Salonen in your audience, form a conducting class at Cornell taught by Karel Husa, and start truly getting the score in your head.

This week we discuss:

  • Starting a Conducting class at Cornell
    • Taught by Karel Husa!
  • Studying with Frederik Prausnitz
    • “It’s the kind of teaching where I look back and think ‘wow, I’m just now getting what he was talking about.’”
    • Probing the Score
  • The advantages of youth
  • Starting an orchestra
    • And getting Esa-Pekka Salonen to attend your concert
  • Conducting Chamber Music vs larger groups
  • Working with a non-American ensemble
    • And the benefits of a language barrier
  • The Ultimate Goal of Score Study
    • “Why am I putting all this stuff in the score when my ultimate goal is really that I want to take everything out of the score?”
    • Study by journaling
  • Probing the Score and finding nuance
    • What do all these “pianos” mean?
  • Mandarano’s Biggest Mistakes in our education
  • Admired Teachers:
    • Jorge Mester
    • Harold Farberman
    • Gustav Meier
  • Why you should study Wagner’s Ring Cycle
  • Mandarano’s Hidden Gem:
    • All of Karel Husa’s other music (besides Music for Prague)
  • Mandarano’s Billboard to every musician
  • Final Advice for Students


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