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College of Arts Humanities and Social Sciences, Lamont School of Music, Musicology and Ethnomusicology


Music, Orchestra, Concertmaster, Leadership


The role and responsibilities of the orchestral concertmaster have evolved alongside the orchestra over the last several centuries, shifting away from composing music for the ensemble and organizing events, and towards being aware of union standards, etiquette, and musician morale, as well as the important task of writing bowings. What makes an effective concertmaster? In attempting to answer this question, this paper will be examining both the musical and extra-musical duties of the modern day concertmaster, primarily focusing on leadership qualities such as cueing and leading with the bow. The paper will draw on biographical sources of current concertmasters of major orchestras and examining their personality and leadership style, with special focus on second-hand accounts of how their leadership style is perceived. The “effectiveness” of a concertmaster will be determined by their success in the field, reception from players in their section or orchestra, and primary source analyses of video and audio materials of their work. In answering the question at hand, the paper aims to provide useful information to aspiring leaders and concertmasters by analyzing the qualities of good leadership.

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Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License
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