Media Center: ‘Maestros and Their Music’ by John Mauceri

Media Center: ‘Maestros and Their Music’ by John Mauceri

WHO: John Mauceri

The Art and Alchemy of Conducting

WHEN: Published by Knopf November 9, 2017

WHERE: The author lives in New York.

WHY: “A zealous memoir.
“John Mauceri, whose decades-long career spans from opera to symphony to Broadway (he is perhaps best known as Leonard Bernstein’s preferred collaborator), describes his lifelong passion for conducting. With descriptions of conducting styles, the evolution of notation, and the differences between Western and Eastern music, as well as more gossipy bits, like difficult orchestra relationships, reactionary symphony boards, and hated critics, the book roves freely from technical musical matters to memory.
“Mauceri is most intent on describing the esoteric and paradoxical qualities of being a maestro: giving decisive direction while allowing musicians freedom, making a classic piece new while staying true to the composer’s intent, communicating to the orchestra how a passage should feel and sound — a difficult task indeed.
“Symphony-lovers will be thrilled with the behind-the-scenes details, and aspiring conductors will enjoy the rich industry insight. Those simply curious about how classical music happens will feel drawn in by Mauceri’s palpable passion.”
–Sarah Grant, BOOKLIST

“Mauceri demonstrates what it’s like to work closely
with brilliant conductors, bringing their artistry to life.

Mauceri draws on his 50-year experience conducting classical and popular repertoires with orchestras around the world for this combination history and guide that demystifies the secrets of the baton for a new generation of aspiring conductors. The first half of the book establishes the rules of the art; the second half elaborates on its vagaries and exceptions.
“Taking into consideration score, interpretation, time, place, and technology, Mauceri explains that ‘there is no single controlling element, only a kind of ecstatic, vibrating state in which conductivity is everywhere.’
“Tales of Jean-Baptiste Lully’s death from gangrene caused by self-inflicted baton wounds and Arturo Toscanini tossing his handkerchief in the air to demonstrate how lightly the orchestra should play are moving and memorable. Leonard Bernstein, Mauceri’s mentor, and his music, which the author translates, figure large here too.”

“Informative and entertaining.” –Barry Zaslow, LIBRARY JOURNAL

Jacket photo

Media Resources:
About the book and author | Read an excerpt | Download the jacket | Download the author photo

Knopf. 262 pages. $28.95 ISBN 978-0-451-49402-3
With 36 illustrations

To interview the author, contact:
Jess Purcell | 212-572-2082 |