So what does a Conductor do? - an autobiography
A question conductors are so often asked. What other limelight job is so little understood? This book takes on this question in the context of the author’s career as a conductor and a life in music, travelling the world, observing great conductors, and working with some of the top orchestras and musicians of his generation.
It follows Nicholas Braithwaite's journey through childhood in London to the Royal Academy of Music, six years as a member of the Bayreuth Masterclasses, friendship with Wagner’s granddaughter Friedelind Wagner, meeting Hitler’s friend (and Wagner’s daughter-in-law) Winifred Wagner, and two years of study in Vienna; his debut conducting Puccini’s Tosca standing on a beer crate with an orchestra of 23 in an Irish village; appointments ranging from Assistant Conductor to Music Director or Chief Conductor of opera companies and orchestras in the UK, Norway, Sweden, Australia and New Zealand; conducting operas with great opera companies including Glyndebourne, Covent Garden, Hamburg, Opera Australia, conducting the Ring for the English National Opera. Concerts in many countries, and recordings with the London Philharmonic, London Symphony, Royal Philharmonic and Philharmonia orchestra and more; working with conductors such as Bernard Haitink, Charles Mackerras, George Solti, and observing from close quarters Hans Knappertsbusch, Herbert von Karajan, Karl Böhm, Rudolf Kempe and others.
Unique in that while it is an autobiography, it also provides a rare close-up view of some of the great conductors of recent times, plus considerable analysis of the philosophy and processes of conducting symphony, opera, and recordings in many different parts of the world. Nicholas Braithwaite is a Fellow of the Royal Academy of Music, and has recently been awarded a star in the upcoming Adelaide Festival Centre Walk of Fame alongside such people as Clive James and Dame Joan Sutherland.