Your Chance to Go Inside A Far Cry Chamber Orchestra, 7pm Saturday

Above: How an orchestra rehearses without a conductor – A Far Cry Chamber Orchestra rehearses Tchaikovsky’s Serenade for Strings.

Troll deeply enough through the pile of conductor jokes and you’ll run into one that goes like this:

Q: What is the difference between an orchestra and a freight train?

A: A Freight train needs a conductor.

So does an orchestra really need a conductor? A conductor’s job description might be the most misunderstood aspect of classical concert music. At the most basic level, he or she keeps time for and with the orchestra and makes sure the ensemble stays balanced and together. But the conductor is more than a musical traffic cop. He or she also sets forth interpretive goals for a musical work and leads an orchestra’s musicians toward that vision.

Wait? You mean, the one person not playing an instrument gets to make all of the artistic decisions for everyone who does?

Well, essentially, that’s right.

In recent decades some instrumentalists have opted out of the traditional conductor-dominated orchestral hierarchy. The result: a wave of conductorless orchestras whose members rehearse and perform on more democratic terms. Those orchestras include the long-standing Orpheus Chamber Orchestra and, more recently, the Boston-based chamber orchestra called A Far Cry.

Join me Saturday, March 9, at 7 p.m. at the Southern Theatre for your chance to go see how A Far Cry Chamber Orchestra devises its artistic vision, rehearses and attends to myriad administrative duties without the benefit of a conductor. I’ll interview members of A Far Cry about how being freed from a conductor’s interpretations ushers in pros and cons of a different kind of creative process – and other aspects of the orchestra’s inner workings.

Don’t miss this unique behind-the-scenes look at one of America’s most original chamber ensembles. Hope to see you Saturday at 7 p.m. at the Southern Theatre!

Join Classical 101′s Jennifer Hambrick for a conversation with musicians from A Far Cry Chamber Orchestra Saturday, March 9, at 7 p.m., before the 8 p.m. concert on Chamber Music Columbus’ series. Tickets and more information available through CAPA or Chamber Music Columbus.