November 1, 2012

Ron Spigelman on Ron Spigelman

Ron Spigelman
Read about this weekend's guest conductor.

The first coherent notes that I strung together as a trumpet student were fragments of songs on the radio, movie themes and jazz standards my first teacher taught me. He didn't read music until later in his life, and his philosophy was to teach me by ear and by logic. I remember that for him it was about the melody, the song, and the words (although at age 7 I was still learning those too!). "Try to follow the melody, let it lead you," he would say.

My first ensemble experience was in a jazz band. I miss playing in one, but I don't know if my chops could handle it now! After playing in youth orchestras and studying at the Royal Academy of Music, classical music had become my life, but it was those jazz songs that I would find myself whistling. As a conductor, I dreamed of conducting the great works by Beethoven, Brahms, and Mahler, and I have been lucky enough to do that. I have never, however, felt more lucky than to conduct the music of Gershwin, Porter, Basie, and Ellington, and to work with artists such as Audra McDonald, Marvin Hamlisch, Arturo Sandoval, and Peter, Paul, and Mary.

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