Conductor Spotlight

Leopold Stokowski was famous for his big style of conducting.(Photo: Balcer)
Leopold Stokowski was famous for his big style of conducting.(Photo: Balcer)

Leopold Stokowski was larger than life. He was also quite the showman. Maybe you remember the story about his decision to dim the lights on the orchestra and have a spot focusing on his hands?

While I do not have video of that performance, the following is an excerpt of Stokowski conducting the Orchestra Internazionale Giovanile, St Moritz and Orchestra della Svizzera Italiana in a 1969 performance of Pyotr Tchaikovsky’s Romeo and Juliet Overture-Fantasy, so you can see the famous hands in action.

How far will a conductor go to be in the spotlight? Well, just ask Francis Schwartz. He wrote the Concerto for Solo Conductor, which was premiered by conductor Roberto-Juan Gonzalez at the Napa Valley College Theater in 2006.

Here’s a video of that performance; it’s actually pretty entertaining, and the audience gets into the spirit of things.

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