Music, Heuristics, and Interpretation: A Conductor's Search for Musical Meaning


Orchestral conductors are responsible for a vast amount of musical information. A conductor must discern and understand the relationships between hundreds of thousands of notes, dynamics, articulations, and other instructions from the composer. From this information, a conductor must then find and internalize a logic from these data that can communicate on a sensory, psychological, and emotional level. In my presentation, I will discuss the process I created for internalizing and interpreting music, which shares many principals of heuristics used in data-intensive computing. I will illustrate these connections as I lead the audience through their own process of interpretive discovery using examples from Beethoven's Coriolan Overture, George Benjamin's At First Light, University Professor Augusta Read Thomas's Twilight Butterfly, Schoenberg's Chamber Symphony no. 1, op. 9, and Wagner's Siegfried Idyll.