17 July, 2021
I am beginning to understand more about my lifelong fascination with dance. It stems from my deep belief in the art of conducting as a simultaneously choreographed and improvised kinetic (and kinesthetic) story-telling device. Beautiful music inspires beautiful dance. Likewise, if a conductor’s gestures are beautiful, so is the music. If my arms are heavy and lumbering, thus is the resulting sound. If my posture is playful and carefree, the music becomes weightless like champagne bubbles. Anyone who has watched Leonard Bernstein conduct would recognize it as ballet.
I chuckled a bit at the similarities between Andre Kohn’s painting and this photo of me conducting from memory on the fly – eyes closed – calling up the music from my soul. I remember this moment vividly. But, there’s more to this post than a visual comparison. Kohn’s paintings are blurred with motion and cause me to think often about how the muscles of music are perpetually flexing and releasing, conveying the subtle ebb and flow of introspection. His paintings fill me with wonder and this comparison reminds me of my little dancer within.