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Q&A

Why was Stravinsky alleged to be a lousy conductor?

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I'm assuming that Stravinsky was healthy, could see and hear well, and had no personality disorders. How could a skilled composer like him be unskilled at conducting?

Stravinsky as Pioneer of a New Conductor Style? on JSTOR

In confronting the cliché that he was not a good conductor, the author considers several issues, among them Stravinsky's unerring instinct for the right tempo, his relationship to rubato, his vitality and charisma, and finally, why he devoted so much energy to conducting in the first place.

The Rough Guide to Classical Music (2010 5 ed). p. 546 Middle.

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I can't speak to Stravinsky specifically, so perhaps this is not an answer to your question, but you also ask:

How could a skilled composer like him be unskilled at conducting?

Composing, playing, and conducting are different (related) skills. A person can be an excellent performer, including being skilled in all of the finer points of tempo, phrasing, shaping, and more, and yet not be a good leader who can unify an entire orchestra. I've seen this (at the amateur level, admittedly) with choirs; a person can be an excellent singer, spot-on on pitch and tempo and with good blend, but not have the "topsight" and the ear for conducting the whole. Conducting involves different skills, separately taught in music programs.

Being an outstanding performer or an outstanding composer gives one an advantage, over those who are not, in conducting. But it's not automatic. A person who invests in cultivating those additional skills will excel as a conductor; one who doesn't probably will not.

This answer is based on personal experience and observation, mostly choral and not orchestral.

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