A music(al) director or director of music is the person responsible for the musical aspects of a performance, production, or organization.This would include the artistic director and usually chief conductor of an orchestra or concert band, the director of music of a film, the director of music at a radio station, the person in charge of musical activities or the head of the music department in a school, the coordinator of the musical ensembles in a university, college, or institution (but not usually the head of the academic music department), the head bandmaster of a military band, the head organist and choirmaster of a church, or an organist and master of the choristers (the title given to a director of music at a cathedral, particularly in England).
The title of "music director" or "musical director" is used by many symphony orchestras to designate the primary conductor and artistic leader of the orchestra. The term "music director" is most common for orchestras in the United States. With European orchestras, the titles of "principal conductor" or "chief conductor" are more common, which designate the conductor who directs the majority of a given orchestra's concerts in a season. In musical theatre and opera, the music director is in charge of the overall musical performance, including ensuring that the cast knows the music thoroughly, supervising the musical interpretation of the performers and pit orchestra, and conducting the orchestra.
In the 20th century, the title and position typically brought with it an almost unlimited influence over the particular orchestra's affairs. As implied by the name, the music director not only conducts concerts, but also controls what music the orchestra will perform or record, and has much authority regarding hiring, firing, and other personnel decisions over an orchestra's musicians. Such authoritarian rule, once expected and even thought necessary for a symphonic ensemble to function properly, has loosened somewhat in the closing decades of the 20th century with the advent and encouragement of more power sharing and cooperative management styles (with the orchestra musicians themselves, the administrative staff, and volunteer board of directors). The music director in American lingo also assists with fund-raising, and also is the primary focus of publicity for the orchestra, as what is often called its "public face".
The term "music director" or "musical director" became common in the United States in the middle of the 20th century, following an evolution of titles. Early leaders of orchestras were simply designated as the "conductor." In the 1920s and 1930s, the term musical director began to be used, in order to delineate the fact that the person in this position was doing much more than just conducting, and to differentiate them from guest conductors who simply led one particular program or concert. George Szell, for instance, was appointed as "musical director" of the Cleveland Orchestra in 1946, and his position was so named until his death in 1970. His successor, Lorin Maazel, was given the title "music director." Other major American orchestras kept more current with the times and began using the simpler term in the 1950s and 1960s.
The term can also refer to the person who directs a school band or heads the music program.
Alternatively, the term "music director" used to appear in the film credits for a professional hired to supervise and direct the music selected for a film or music documentary, but today the more common designation is music supervisor.
In India, where many films are produced as musicals, the term "music director" is commonly used for the composer and music producer of the songs and score used in the film. Their roles also entail arranging, mastering, mixing and supervising recording of film music with conducting and orchestration. Usually, another artist will receive the credit for the lyrics of the songs. '
The "music director" for a theatrical production or Broadway or West End musical often serves as rehearsal pianist and conductor. This music director is often also the vocal coach, may also be involved in arranging material for new works, or collaborate on underscoring. There was a Tony Award category for Best Musical Director beginning in 1948, but it was discontinued in 1964 in part due to the fluid responsibilities of musical directors.
A music director of a radio station is responsible for interacting with record company representatives, auditioning new music, offering commentary, and making decisions (sometimes in conjunction with the program director) as to which songs get airplay, how much and when. In college radio, there may be more than one music director, as students usually volunteer only a few hours each per week, and most stations have a diverse and extensive library of several different music genres.
In the British Armed Forces, a director of music is a commissioned officer, always a musician commissioned from the ranks, who leads a military band. A non-commissioned officer or warrant officer who leads a band is called a bandmaster.
In pop music, a musical director or "MD" is responsible for supervising the musical arrangements and personnel for a touring artist. This can include festivals and televised performances as well as those at traditional on-stage venues. In the modern era, the sound of a studio recording is often impossible or impractical to reproduce on stage, and it is the music director's job to assemble musicians and arrangements to adapt that material to a live setting (which may or may not include playback of prerecorded tracks). The music director generally leads rehearsals as well as each performance, allowing the lead artist to focus on performing.
Generalmusikdirektor (GMD, general music director) is a German title for the artistic director of an orchestra, an institution or a town.
A music director (Latin: director musices) was originally the title of the person responsible for music in a town in Germany and Austria. Johann Sebastian Bach was music director in Leipzig, Georg Philipp Telemann and later Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach were music directors in Hamburg, Robert Schumann was music director in Düsseldorf.
Generalmusikdirektor is a title given by larger towns to a person typically responsible for a symphony orchestra and the opera. The first person with this title was Gaspare Spontini in Berlin in 1819. Daniel Barenboim has been Generalmusikdirektor of the Staatsoper Unter den Linden in Berlin since 1992.
Brass bands, wind bands, choirs, opera companies and other ensembles may also have musical directors.
An orchestra is a large instrumental ensemble typical of classical music, which combines instruments from different families, including bowed string instruments such as the violin, viola, cello, and double bass, woodwinds such as the flute, oboe, clarinet and bassoon, brass instruments such as the horn, trumpet, trombone and tuba, and percussion instruments such as the timpani, bass drum, triangle, snare drum, cymbals, and mallet percussion instruments each grouped in sections. Other instruments such as the piano and celesta may sometimes appear in a fifth keyboard section or may stand alone, as may the concert harp and, for performances of some modern compositions, electronic instruments.
Kapellmeister is a German word designating a person in charge of music-making. The word is a compound, consisting of the roots Kapelle and Meister ("master"). Originally used to refer to somebody in charge of music in a chapel, the term has evolved considerably in its meaning in response to changes in the musical profession.
Conducting is the art of directing a musical performance, such as an orchestral or choral concert. It has been defined as "the art of directing the simultaneous performance of several players or singers by the use of gesture." The primary duties of the conductor are to interpret the score in a way which reflects the specific indications in that score, set the tempo, ensure correct entries by ensemble members, and "shape" the phrasing where appropriate. Conductors communicate with their musicians primarily through hand gestures, usually with the aid of a baton, and may use other gestures or signals such as eye contact. A conductor usually supplements their direction with verbal instructions to their musicians in rehearsal.
A concert band, variously also called a wind ensemble, symphonic band, wind symphony, wind orchestra, wind band, symphonic winds, symphony band, or symphonic wind ensemble, is a performing ensemble consisting of members of the woodwind, brass, and percussion families of instruments, and occasionally including the double bass or bass guitar. On rare occasions, additional non-traditional instruments may be added to such ensembles such as piano, harp, synthesizer, or electric guitar.
Vilém Tauský CBE was a Czech conductor and composer who, from the advent of the Second World War, lived and worked in the UK, one of a significant group of émigré composers and musicians who settled there.
Luther College is a private liberal arts college in Decorah, Iowa. Established as a Lutheran seminary in 1861 by Norwegian immigrants, the school today is an institution of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America.
A rehearsal is an activity in the performing arts that occurs as preparation for a performance in music, theatre, dance and related arts, such as opera, musical theatre and film production. It is undertaken as a form of practising, to ensure that all details of the subsequent performance are adequately prepared and coordinated. The term rehearsal typically refers to ensemble activities undertaken by a group of people. For example, when a musician is preparing a piano concerto in their music studio, this is called practicing, but when they practice it with an orchestra, this is called a rehearsal. The music rehearsal takes place in a music rehearsal space.
Eberhard Schoener is a German musician, composer, conductor, and arranger. His activities combine many styles and formats. Originally a classical violinist and conductor of chamber music and opera, he was one of the early adopters and popularizers of the Moog synthesizer in Europe. In the 1970s he traveled to Indonesia and incorporated musical elements from Asia into his own work. He has collaborated with rock musicians such as Jon Lord and The Police and also with Electronic Music German Pioneer band Tangerine Dream on an orchestral arrangement for the "Mojave Plan" track for a live performance on a German TV show. He has composed film scores, videos, music for television, and an opera to be broadcast via the Internet. He has won numerous awards, including the 1975 Schwabing Art Prize for music, the 1992 Bambi Award for creativity and a lifetime achievement award at the Soundtrack Cologne Festival of Music and Sound in Film and the Media in November, 2014.
A bandmaster is the leader and conductor of a band, usually a concert band, military band, brass band or a marching band.
The Mahler Chamber Orchestra is a professional touring chamber orchestra founded by Claudio Abbado and former members of the Gustav Mahler Youth Orchestra in 1997.
Peter Mampreh Dombourian, was active in musical circles in New Orleans, Louisiana, as a music educator, conductor, and musician.
The National Symphony Orchestra is the most important symphony orchestra in Mexico. With its origins traced back as 1881, it is the second-oldest symphony orchestra in the American continent along with the Boston Symphony Orchestra. The orchestra does not have a permanent venue but performs regularly in the Grand Hall of the Palace of Fine Arts in Mexico City.
Frank Renton is a British musician, conductor and broadcaster, and former host of Listen to the Band on BBC Radio 2.
Andrew Keith Wailes is an Australian conductor and music director. Winner of the Australasian International Choral Conducting Competition in Brisbane in 1999, he is the current Artistic Director and Chief Conductor of the Royal Melbourne Philharmonic Choir and Orchestra, Principal Conductor of the Melbourne University Choral Society, and Music Director and Conductor of the Box Hill Chorale. From 1999 to 2020 he served as Artistic Director of The Australian Children's Choir, and for a decade was Director of the Australian Catholic University Melbourne Campus Choir. He is a former President of the Australian Intervarsity Choral Societies Association, and is a former Artistic Administrator and Artistic Director of The Chamber Strings of Melbourne.
Ensemble librarianship is an area of music librarianship which specializes in serving the needs of musical ensembles, including symphony and chamber orchestras, opera houses, ballet companies, wind ensembles and educational institutions. Ensemble librarians acquire printed music and prepare it for performance.
Jerry Junkin is an American conductor of wind bands and educator. Most notably, Junkin has served as the longtime conductor of the Dallas Wind Symphony since 1993, one of the premier wind bands in the world. He attended Victoria High School from 1970 to 1974 Junkin is on the faculty at the Butler School of Music at The University of Texas at Austin, where he has held the Vincent R. and Jane D. DiNino Chair for the Director of Bands since 1988. He conducts the Wind Ensemble, and instructs graduate as well as undergraduate conducting courses.
Guy Protheroe is a British conductor, musical director, composer, arranger, lyricist, singer, writer and musicologist/forensic musicologist. He has been conductor and musical director of the contemporary music ensemble Spectrum and the English Chamber Choir throughout his career and has also worked extensively in commercial music with many leading artists, in particular Rick Wakeman, Vangelis and Eric Lévi. Apart from conducting he is also known as a singer in both classical and commercial music, has founded and directed a number of festivals and similar projects, spent a few years writing and editing for the BBC, and is a forensic musicologist in the UK.
Hanns-Martin Schneidt was a German conductor, harpsichordist, organist and academic. He held teaching positions in Berlin, Hamburg, Munich and Tokyo, was Generalmusikdirektor in Wuppertal, artistic director of the Münchener Bach-Chor and the Kanagawa Philharmonic Orchestra, and founded Bach ensembles in Berlin and Tokyo.
The Bremer Philharmoniker is the official orchestra of the Free Hanseatic City of Bremen. In addition to the music theatre in the Theater Bremen they organise 28 Philharmonic concerts per season, various special, benefit and chamber concerts as well as many projects in the field of music education. Christian Kötter-Lixfeld is the artistic director of the Bremen Philharmonic Orchestra, and Marko Letonja has been its Generalmusikdirektor since the 2018/2019 season.
Philharmonisches Orchester Freiburg is the symphony orchestra of Freiburg im Breisgau, Germany, founded in 1887. It plays concerts in the Konzerthaus Freiburg and opera in the Theater Freiburg.