Do Conductors and Performers Make Good Composers?
Joshua Bell tells the Korea Times that he’s working toward writing his own stuff in a few years. Could work, I suppose. His pal Edgar Myers is a decent composer and fine musician. But, you pretty much have to go back to Rachmaninoff to find someone who was “great” as both a performer and composer. (Or, I’m sure someone will remind me that you don’t have to go back that far.)
Same thing for conductors. Okay, Lenny was great at both but most are not. The most excruciating half hour I ever spent in a concert hall (and this includes Chinese opera) was listening to some endless percussion drivel by Michael Tilson Thomas that he had forced upon the poor kids in the New World Symphony. I really admire Esa Pekka but I just can’t warm to his music.
So, gang, what’s the verdict?