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My Ears Are Open, Chicago. Part I.


One of the simple rules for the podcast is that there is a new episode every two weeks.  That rule was broken in July when all four members of ETHEL were featured.  And, that rule is being broken again in September when four musicians based in Chicago will be featured.

The month starts out with conductor Cliff Colnot (best known for his work with Contempo, Chicago Symphony’s MusicNow, ICE, and others).  Cliff is a unique person in that he feels so strongly about notation and rehearsal efficiency, that he has produced documents outlining the way he likes to see things as a conductor–and gives them away to anyone who asks.  Some of his thoughts on the topic are rather controversial, but anyone who has met him knows that it is hard to find a more appropriate word to describe him than “efficient”.   Even if you disagree with him on some of his points of view, it’s hard to argue with the fact that composers should be preparing scores and parts in a way that doesn’t waste rehearsal time.  Cliff describes how to get these documents for free at the end of his episode.

As always, you can subscribe in iTunes here, on the web here, or just click here to download the episode.


Comment from Rob Deemer
Time: September 7, 2009, 2:17 pm

Great podcast, James – I’m curious what parts of his talk were controversial? Clarity of notation (especially in a large ensemble work with limited rehearsal time) and a positive/non-confrontational attitude in rehearsals seems pretty straight-forward. What did I miss?

Comment from James Holt
Time: September 7, 2009, 3:09 pm

Rob, you are right – I guess that the “controversial” things I was thinking of don’t really come out in the interview, but if you look through his document on notation you will see more of what I am talking about. He feels very strongly that rests, tuplet signs and measure numbers must be done a certain way. Sounds like a small thing but he contradicts most of the standards – some agree, some don’t.

Comment from Rob Deemer
Time: September 8, 2009, 2:11 pm

Gotcha – overall I liked his document…it’s sufficiently anal to really get you looking for details. The only truly new thing I noticed was the tuplets, but I can understand that…no risk of collision with dynamics, etc. I’ve been doing measure numbers like that for some time now and it really is the easiest way to do it in rehearsals, and not too hard to set up. Thanks again for interviewing Cliff – this will be a handy addition.