Can We Talk About Conductor Bae?

Conductor Bae conducting. (RoderickCox.com)

Conductor Bae conducting. (RoderickCox.com)

Look, I know I'm late on this, but this is your fault, Internet.  See no one ever showed me footage of Conductor Bae until my Facebook stream did this morning, and now that footage is 5 months old.  Five months!  It has been 5 whole months since Roderick Cox, Conductor Bae, made his subscription debut with the Minnesota Orchestra as Associate Conductor, a position he just signed to extend through the 2017-2018 season, and I ain't even know.  Shameful. 

 

Check this brother out:

The man's skill is immense, his passion unmistakable.  For those who didn't do the high school orchestra or band thing, the conductor's job is to keep the ensemble on tempo, and to cue in sections of the orchestra that might not be playing anything for large stretches of a piece.  This is necessary because when you're sitting in the middle of an orchestra, you can't always hear well, and may well lose track of when you need to come in, and also because folks daydream during longer pieces (Just me? Oh... awkward.).  In order to do this, he has to follow the written music for the entire orchestra, which is thick as a book and referred to as a score.  Ladies and gentlemen, this is hard as hell. 

For example, for this one line the first violins are playing: 

First Violin excerpt for Tchaikovsky's Fourth Symphony, Finale. (Google Images)

First Violin excerpt for Tchaikovsky's Fourth Symphony, Finale. (Google Images)

The conductor is looking at all of this:

Orchestral Score, first page of Tchaikovsky's Fourth Symphony, Finale. (Google Images)

Orchestral Score, first page of Tchaikovsky's Fourth Symphony, Finale. (Google Images)

...And this one page takes just a few seconds for the orchestra to fly through.  Conducting is an intellectually difficult business, and because it requires such intense mental concentration, it typically isn't such a physical one.

Suddenly pertinent Google search. (Google)

Suddenly pertinent Google search. (Google)

Conductor Bae turns this on it's head, as this man is bopping like me 3 drinks in and Kendrick Lamar's "Humble" playing.  But he is On Point with it.  This is not a situation where guy is showboating, being all extra just for the sake of being extra.  Tchaikovsky's Fourth Symphony almost invites those who play it to get lost in the exquisite tension of the piece, and the pace of the music.  I imagine it must be incredibly difficult to rein in the individual sections of the ensemble to keep them from careening all over the place and getting off tempo, especially as a successful conductor must always be literally one beat ahead, anticipating what the orchestra is going to do before they do it.  Yet, as the orchestra hurtles full speed towards the conclusion of this piece with all the power of a mack truck, he is keeping all these individual elements on track with the mechanical precision of a metronome, though the music clearly has his mind and his body engaged.  This is Black Excellence operating at some of its highest levels, and this guy is at the beginning of his career!  It is phenomenal to watch, and has Geechee Anne googling some thangs.