In Conversations with Joseph Flummerfelt: Thoughts on Conducting, Music, and Musicians, Donald Nally presents a window into the mind and heart of one of America's most celebrated and distinguished choral conductors. Through questions from Nally, his former student, Flummerfelt provides a captivating narrative tracing his formative years and influences, his most important artistic collaborations, and his approach to conducting and music. The conversation further develops into a philosophical discussion on cultural influences and obstacles in art, how one teaches conducting, and the foundations of ensemble music-making.
Through these intimate conversations, Flummerfelt reveals his life, art, and ideas, from his close collaborations with some of the world's greatest orchestral conductors to his work as Artistic Director of Westminster Choir College. The topics range from his approaches to style, conducting gesture, sound generation, and choral sound to the psychology of music-making and the contemporary environment of art-making. Nally's interview style captures the energy and rhythm of Flummerfelt's speech so that the conductor's "voice" and passion is easily perceived, and the material is presented as a highly organized yet spontaneous and free conversation.
Flummerfelt discusses his early career influences from such musicians as Robert Shaw and Nadia Boulanger and reveals his thoughts on composers like Igor Stravinsky, Samuel Barber, Benjamin Britten, and Olivier Messiaen. The more than 30 photos present a visual record of Flummerfelt's collaborations with many of the great musicians of our time, and a biographical timeline, a list of collaborating orchestras and conductors, and a discography are also included.
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