Tragedy and Triumph

“It’s music that generates the emotions that release the human experience. And it doesn’t go through the brain. It goes through the molecules. It shifts the molecules and gives you whatever feeling. And, of course, the great composers… know how to do that. Turn it on as if they’re turning a tap or dials on a machine.”–Benjamin Zander

From Carl Nielsen’s Fourth Symphony, nicknamed The Inextinguishable to Tchaikovsky’s Sixth Symphony, nicknamed Pathétique, great composers have the ability to take listeners from the peaks of joy to the depths of despair. Sometimes within the span of seconds. Regardless of the realm of feeling called for in the score, the job of the conductor is to conjure in their players a wide palette of colors and themes. The goal is to evoke moods and feelings. Maestro Zander has spent his career partnering with orchestras and students to bring these emotional elements to life. The items featured below explore specific moments of the depths of musical emotion and teach us about the role of a conductor or teacher in bringing them to life.