Marin Alsop Reveals 10 Things Inside a Conductor’s Brain During a Symphony Concert

May 26, 2022, 5:18 p.m. | Updated: May 26, 2022, 5:27 PM

Marin Alsop’s Conductor’s Brain.

Image: Classic FM


Classical music conductors have a lot to do – score, baton and more. Here’s everything that goes on in the brain of a great symphony conductor…

Great conductors take the stage and incredible music flows. From them, through the players of the orchestra, all the drama and beauty of symphonic music appears. It all happens seemingly effortlessly, right at your fingertips.

To be a top conductor requires years of training, rehearsals and meticulous study. From learning technique to studying scores and understanding the multiple elements of the orchestra.

But when they step onto a podium in a crowded concert hall to perform a symphony by Brahms or Beethoven, what exactly goes through their minds? What do they think about while directing the contours of the music?

We wanted to find out, so we went to one of the best: star conductor Marin Alsop. She is chief conductor of the Vienna Radio Symphony Orchestra and conductor emeritus of Classic FM’s orchestra in the south of England, the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra.

We caught up with Marin backstage at Southbank Central Londonshortly before taking the stage to perform with another Classic FM orchestra, our Orchestra on Tour, the Philharmonia Orchestra.

We asked her about all the things she thought about when conducting a symphony orchestra concert. Watch above for a glimpse of his brilliant half-Brahms musical brain…

It’s a fascinating list by Marin, from the tempo and beat, to the architecture of the music and the personality of the orchestra. It really makes you appreciate everything that happens behind the stick.

All good to keep in mind the next time you find yourself conducting your favorite symphony!

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