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An exuberant, uniquely accessible, beautifully illustrated look inside the enigmatic art and craft of conducting, from a celebrated conductor whose international career has spanned half a century.
John Mauceri brings a lifetime of experience to bear in an unprecedented, hugely informative, consistently entertaining exploration of his profession, rich with anecdotes from decades of working alongside the greatest names of the music world. With candor and humor, Mauceri makes clear that conducting is itself a composition: of legacy and tradition, techniques handed down from master to apprentice--and more than a trace of ineffable magic. He reveals how conductors approach a piece of music (a calculated combination of personal interpretation, imagination, and insight into the composer's intent); what it takes to communicate solely through gesture, with sometimes hundreds of performers at once; and the occasionally glamorous, often challenging life of the itinerant maestro. Mauceri, who worked closely with Leonard Bernstein for eighteen years, studied with Leopold Stokowski, and was on the faculty of Yale University for fifteen years, is the perfect guide to the allure and theater, passion and drudgery, rivalries and relationships of the conducting life.
About the Author
Over the past five decades, JOHN MAUCERI has conducted symphonies, operas, ballets, musicals, and film music around the world, appearing in the world's most famous venues and serving as music director of four opera companies and three orchestras, as well as hosting television and radio programs. An accomplished recording artist, he has more than seventy albums to his name, and is the recipient of a Grammy, a Tony, a Billboard, two Diapasons d'Or, three Emmys, and four Deutschen Schallplattenkritik awards. He has written for The New York Times, Los Angeles Times, The Times of London, and The Huffington Post, among other publications.
"Engaging, funny, and profound . . . In clean prose and witty asides, [Mauceri] explains the method behind the ostensible magic of orchestral conducting, and leads a whirlwind tour through some of the last century's memorable maestros." —Zoë Madonna, The Boston Globe
“To read Maestros and Their Music is to come away with a much clearer understanding of what its author calls the ‘strange and lawless world’ of conducting.” —Terry Teachout, Commentary
“Frank and informative about many aspects of the job of maestro . . . few authors have expressed so vividly the huge role of the score itself in a maestro’s daily work, or the non-glamorous status of the guest conductor.” —Opera News
“Mauceri demonstrates what it’s like to work closely with brilliant conductors, bringing their artistry to life.” —Publishers Weekly
“Symphony-lovers will be thrilled with the behind-the-scenes details, and aspiring conductors will enjoy the rich industry insight. Those simply curious about how classical music happens will feel drawn in by Mauceri’s palpable passion.” —Booklist
“Informative and entertaining… [Mauceri] has an insider’s grasp of the vagaries of the music business... [Maestros and Their Music] will appeal to both musicians and others seeking a broad base of information about conducting and conductors.” —Library Journal
“You think conducting is a matter of a maestro merely knowing the score? Let John Mauceri open your eyes and ears to the mysterious, solitary, itinerant world of the conductor and have all preconceptions blown away. Mauceri rips the smoke and mirrors off his profession with wicked and gleeful lucidity, filling us in on its history and answering questions you didn’t even know to ask. This irresistible and unique book is guaranteed to send you to the concert hall and your CDs with newly educated ears—and heart.” —John Guare, playwright
“Articulate and insightful, John Mauceri unapologetically invites us into his world, offering a perspective seldom shared and little understood. Conductors are largely mysteries and intentionally so. John leads us on a journey, taking apart the complex and rebuilding it in a way that creates a narrative anyone can understand. This book not only unmasks a profession, it does the same for meeting and knowing John himself. Whether you are a board of directors looking for your next music director or simply a music lover, I highly recommend reading this book.” —Anne Parsons, president and CEO of the Detroit Symphony
“Written with the profound insight that comes out of a lifetime of conducting experience, John Mauceri’s brilliant book about maestros and their music will transform your understanding of every concert and opera you attend. Everyone who cares about classical music should read this book.” —Larry Wolff, author of The Singing Turk
“Combining rare insights with personal, sometimes hilarious, recollections and historical anecdotes, John Mauceri has created a remarkably perceptive and charming guide into the mysterious art of the conductor. Part personal confession, part wise explication, Maestros and Their Music will be of tremendous value to anyone who wonders just what that person waving a stick in front of an orchestra is actually doing.” —Stuart Isacoff, author of A Natural History of the Piano