Directing a symphony orchestra isn’t all about your musical knowledge.
“My type of leadership is a leadership of love,” Jean-Marie Zeitouni, the new music director of the Columbus Symphony Orchestra, told Classical 101′s Christopher Purdy.
Hailing from Montreal, the consummate traveler said he decided to set down roots in Columbus to make an impact on the Symphony and on the city.
“Everywhere I go, every time I meet new people, they are so welcoming. They are genuinely happy, they genuinely want us to succeed,” Zeitouni said. “That’s really something that warms my heart.”
This heart-warming attitude is something that not all leaders have, Zeitouni said.
“Being in front of a group of people, being able to articulate your thoughts, being able to generate from them the energy and everything, has little to do with musical knowledge,” Zuitouni said.
Some directors, he said, are less scholarly but see great results because they can lead. Others are very refined and knowledgable, but don’t see good results because they can’t communicate with the people they lead.
“I like to cultivate a little bit of both,” he said.
Zeitouni said that even as musicians, being the best isn’t enough anymore.
“We go to school and we learn who to be the best musicians possible, and now we discover that in this world, and in this community, not particularly Columbus but everywhere in North America and everywhere in the world, it’s not enough,” Zeitouni said. “We have to be ambassadors of the art form. We have to connect with the people.”
- Five months in as conductor, Canadian Jean-Marie Zeitouni is taking Columbus Symphony ‘someplace else’ (Dispatch)
- Jean-Marie Zeitouni biography (Dispeker)