Maestro White Entertains and Informs Florence Rotarians

by Carrie Herrmann on May 20, 2015

William C. White of the Cincinnati Symphony conducts an interactive address to the Florence Rotary Club.

William C. White of the Cincinnati Symphony conducts an interactive address to the Florence Rotary Club.

William C. White is in his third year as Assistant Conductor of the Cincinnati Symphony.  He is also the Conductor of the Cincinnati Symphony Youth Orchestra and the Music Director and Conductor of Seven Hills Sinfonietta.   In addition to conducting Mr. White is also a composer and the creator of a series of informational videos called “Ask a Maestro” (http://www.willcwhite.com/tag/ask-a-maestro/).

Mr. White’s talk at Florence Rotary was very entertaining and interactive.  He started off teaching the audience how to direct 2/3, ¾ and 4/4 time.  White also demonstrated how a conductor guides the temp of music by having the audience singing.  Each hand directs a different section of the orchestra.  It is necessary for a conductor to use his/her whole body to direct—head, arms, facial expressions, etc….

Most of his talk was modeled after his “Ask a Maestro” series as he answered a series of questions for the audience.

“What does a conductor do?”  According to Mr. White, a conductor is a planner, administrator, musician, artist, time manager, mentor, and trainer.

“When are you supposed to clap at the symphony?”  This has changed over time.  Music is written in movements.  When most classical pieces were written the audience was supposed to clap at the end of each movement.  Today, you usually wait until the end of the piece.  Mr. White also said that “If you feel moved to clap, so not let anyone stop you.”

“Who is Mr. White’s favorite composer?”  Brahms is his favorite classical composer.

“Who is a contemporary composer destined to become a classic?”  Besides himself, Mr. White believes that Russian Composer Alfred Schnittke should become a classic.  He has written over 60 film scores and 8 symphonies.  (You can find more information about Alfred Schnittke and listen to a sample at http://www.theguardian.com/music/tomserviceblog/2013/apr/29/alfred-schnittke-contemporary-music-tom-service).

“What is the contract for orchestra players?”  The Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra has 86 contract musicians.  They may contract for a specific performance or for a year.  Typically, for one opening the orchestras receives around 350 applications and tapes.  From this pool of candidates, 75 musicians are invited to an interview/audition.  Interviewees are placed behind a screen so that the Cincinnati Symphony is assured that there is no gender, race, ethnicity, or age bias.  The candidate who receives the position is usually on probation for a season and a half.  In Europe there is a mandatory retirement age of 65.  This is a very competitive profession.

Mr. White ended his talk by encouraging Florence Rotary to attend upcoming performances of the Symphony and the Pops.  More information can be found at http://cincinnatisymphony.org/index.php