Dr. Suarez Asks: Who is a Conductor?
Who is a conductor?
The lecture by College of Performing and Visual Arts Dean Dr. Elizabeth Susan Vista-Suarez on January 20, which was attended by teachers from different schools in Dumaguete City, revolved around this question.
“The conductor is a leader, a teacher, a performer, a psychologist and a role model,” she said.
Dr. Suarez pointed out that knowledge of the craft is not enough to become a choral conductor. She said it requires a deeper sense of understanding of oneself and others, especially as choral conducting involves dealing with and touching the hearts of people.
She shared that a choir, as an organization, can be affected by the varied attitudes and behaviors of its members. Different personalities of choir members challenge the conductor to find a common point of harmony, not only in terms of internalizing their vocal parts, but more importantly in keeping a strong bond of friendship among each other.
“To sing in harmony is more of a challenge as the world has become noisy,” Dr. Suarez said, highlighting the need for more profound appreciation of music, not merely singing of notes.
Diction, choral phrase and dynamics are among those that guide a choral conductor in giving life to a musical piece, she explained. “Music cannot come out without the contrast. You have to know the level of softness. Your loud must be louder than the soft.” This, she relayed, are key components of choral conducting that guide her.
Dr. Suarez has been successful in leading singing groups in the University. Two of them are the Silliman University Campus Choristers and the Silliman University Gratitude and Goodwill Ambassadors. Both have not only performed nationally; they have also gone on musical tours in the United States.
“Music is a very important part of life because everybody believes that they can make music,” she said.
The lecture was spearheaded by the Cultural Affairs Committee as part of the Albert Faurot Lecture and Workshop Series for Culture and the Arts.