PT47: “Listening is the Most Important Thing We Do,” with Kenneth Kiesler

We’ve been excited to talk with Maestro Kenneth Kiesler for a while, and this interview is everything that Luke and I hoped that it could be. Friends have told us all about the Conductors Retreat at Medomak and Kiesler’s view and style of score study, and we dig deep into both of those things in this episode. And before we continue, do know that as of this episode they are still taking participants for the 2019 summer session, so sign up!

In this episode, we talk about the culture at the retreat, including how the only competition is with yourself, and about the beauty and importance of being in nature. We also talk about what the actual goal of score study is. I’ve been struggling with this since I started, and I’m sure that a whole bunch of our listeners are as well, but Maestro Kiesler explains perfectly how he comes to absorb a score and really own it as a piece, as well as some methods to achieve that deeper appreciation and understanding. We also dig a bit into the brains of Puccini, Britten, and Mahler in some of Kiesler’s escapades, and get some vicarious sage advice from Boulez. Finally, we discuss one of the biggest drawbacks of how conductors and search committees now are looking at videos, and how we’ve started watching and stopped listening. So plug in your headphones and absorb this incredible interview for an hour and a half, then put it away and take a walk in nature.

This week we discuss:

  1. The Conductors Retreat at Medomak and why it’s an important experience for both developing and established conductors
  2. The goals of score study: forming an internal image and owning a score
  3. The Youtube Effect on conductors and search committees: why we watch instead of listening
  4. Hidden Gems:
  5. Kenneth Kiesler’s Billboards

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