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Favorite Ballet Conductors

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I was very fond of the late Denis de Coteau, in San Francisco.

By pure chance, while I was a grad student at Stanford (science not the arts), I stumbled into his Master's concert, and still remember enjoying it. One of those seemingly little events that helps enrich one's life, as it led to later going to a classical concert at Carnegie Hall after moving to NYC, which led to ...

My new favorite is Nicolette Fraillon, at NYCB. With her gift for Stravinsky, I hope she'll be here for a long time. My overwhelming favorite (for one performance, NYCB's winter season) was His Excellency Maestro Gergiev, 'though one might not count as a ballet conductor one who never looks at the dancers...

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LeoNID Stokowski? Did Leopold have a son? Anyway, not good ballet conductor, Leopold. They tried him a couple of places, and he was so fond of his OWN interpretation of the music that the dancers and choreography be damned. "Stokie" recorded the most unintentionally funny recording of the Rose Adagio in history. At the coda (about where the ballerina starts all those one-handed attitude promenades) he decided that it was a coda, so it had to be fast, and went up to allegro vivo. I wonder if that were the origin of the joke of the runaway conductor in Bye Bye, Birdie?

Robert Irving.

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