Moveable Feast

Maestro Mark Gibson Unveils An Upbeat Conducting Compendium

CCM Director of Orchestral Studies Mark Gibson recently released the paperback edition of The Beat Stops Here: Lessons on and off the Podium for Today’s Conductor, which not only discusses conducting techniques but also provides lessons on score study, musical analysis and the many roles of the modern conductor.

“It is part score analysis, part scholarly thoughts on musical matters, part humorous,” Gibson says. “There is something in it for any and every musician.”

This isn’t Gibson’s first time writing a book; he has collaborated with Elizabeth A. H. Green to produce several editions of The Modern Conductor, an essential conducting text. The Beat Stops Here is less of a textbook and more of Gibson’s personal take on the nuances of his craft, and it stems from his blog of the same name.

“I have accumulated a lot of ideas and writings about conducting and music, many going against conventional wisdom, and I just felt I needed to get them out there.”

thebeatstopshereGibson’s musical reach extends well beyond CCM. He is currently the Principal Guest Conductor of the Sichuan Conservatory Symphony Orchestra and a guest conductor and consultant with the China National Opera. Prior to arriving at CCM, Gibson served as the principal conductor of the Alabama Symphony, visiting director of orchestral studies at the Eastman School of Music and music director of the New York City Opera National Company, among many other positions.

“Every time I teach — be it in writing, in class, in rehearsal, in lesson, in guest master classes — I learn,” he says. “That is one of the joys and blessings of teaching.”

The Beat Stops Here: Lessons on and off the Podium for Today’s Conductor is published by Oxford University Press and is available on Amazon in paperback for $29.95 or as a Kindle e-book for $19.99.  It will be available in hardcover for $99.00 on Thursday, Feb. 23.

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Story by CCM Graduate Student Alexandra Doyle

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A tanguero performance in Buenos Aries. Photo provided by Kristin Wendland.

Tracing Tangueros: Alumna Co-Authors First English Study on Argentine Tango Music

During her first trip to Argentina over the holidays in 2000 Kristin Wendland (MM Composition, 1982) began exploring the complex relationship between dance and music in the Argentine tango. The interest she developed in the subject during that brief trip has blossomed into what can surely be called expertise. Wendland and her co-author, Kacey Link, just completed the first English-language foundational study on the tango, called Tracing Tangueros: Argentine Tango Instrumental Music.

Argentine Tango Ensemble Concert at Schwartz Center. Photo provided by Kristin Wendland.

Argentine Tango Ensemble Concert at Schwartz Center. Photo provided by Kristin Wendland.

After that initial trip to Argentina, Wendland began the research alone and returned to Buenos Aires for seven months in 2005 as a Fulbright Scholar.

“In that time, I absorbed many elements of Argentine culture, especially the music, through attending countless concerts and getting to know tango musicians,” Wendland said.

Those tango musicians are the tangueros mentioned in the title. Anyone with an expertise in tango, especially a tango musician or dancer, is a tanguero, or aficionado. After essentially becoming a tanguero herself, Wendland shared her knowledge in an article published in the College Music Symposium in 2007 titled “The Allure of Tango: Grafting Traditional Performance Practice and Style onto Art-Tangos.”

That same year, Wendland was invited to direct the College Music Society’s Tango Institute, where she met Kacey Link. They began to work together at the conference and eventually developed their ideas on tango into a book proposal. It took more than four years for that proposal to materialize into Tracing Tangueros, which was published by Oxford University Press in March.

Wendland has balanced the role of researcher and author while teaching as a senior lecturer at Emory University in Atlanta, where she coaches the Emory Tango Ensemble and teaches courses in Argentine tango, among other subjects.

Tracing Tangueros covers not only how to perform and interpret tangos authentically but also the genre’s historical development and guidelines to composing or arranging tangos. The book is supplemented by an extensive companion website, which includes musical recordings and videos that demonstrate tango performance practices. It is being sold in hardcover and ebook editions through the Oxford University Press.

“Kacey and I saw a need to write this book, since many musicians outside of Argentina are interested in playing tango music but really don’t know how to interpret it stylistically,” Wendland said.

“We hope it will give practicing musicians and scholars a solid stylistic basis to study, play, arrange and compose the music, while giving a more general reader an understanding of its history. We also hope it will lay the groundwork for future tango studies.”
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Story by CCM graduate student Alexandra Doyle

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