PT6: “Conducting Doesn’t Get Easier,” with Christopher Kelts

I met Chris Kelts for the first time in 2011 at String Fling, a summer string program hosted by Missouri State. Even before he stepped on the podium, we all knew that we were going to love him. He returned in 2015 as the newly-appointed director of orchestras at Missouri State, and I still wish I could have gotten more than one year to study with him. From Missouri State University, Luke and I talk with our friend and former/current teacher, Dr. Cristopher Kelts, and learn about the best way to schedule concerts, why you need to conduct opera, and his unique meditation technique.

Show notes for Episode 6
This week we discuss:

  • “Show me a conductor who isn’t opinionated.”
  • Kelts’ education + work
  • Starting the Kinnor Philharmonic
    • “Why are you all giving concerts when there are already concerts? Why don’t you give concerts when there are no concerts?”
  • Preparing a full season of music
  • “New World” Symphony with dogs
  • Media in the conducting world
  • Advice
    • Listen to as much music as possible
    • Go to live events as much as you can
    • Develop the ability to listen to new music
  • Finally, the question that Luke has always wanted to ask
  • “There’s no right way to do this, but there sure are a lot of wrong ways.”
  • What one piece will teach the most?
    • “We’re all figuring it all out. I think if you think you’ve figured it all out, you’re in trouble.”
  • Six months to teach conducting
  • Be a leader, not a dictator
    • Create an atmosphere where people want to work with you
  • “The ultimate goal is to try to create living art from a dead person’s piece of paper with black notes on it.”
  • “Conducting doesn’t become easier, it just becomes more familiar.”
  • Meditation
  • Other interests
    • Documentaries
    • “How It’s Made”
  • The Maestro Myth
  • Hidden Gem
  • Kelts’s Billboard
  • A recent uncomfortable experience

Connect with us on Facebook,Twitter, and Instagram at @PodiumTimePod, and continue the conversation in our Facebook Group, the Podium Time Inner Circle. If you’d like to support the podcast monetarily and get bonus content, consider joining our Patreon community at