Menuhin conducting with feet?

November 23, 2005 at 04:33 AM · Okay, I heard an NPR program a couple weeks ago on yoga, and they mentioned Menuhin's use of it, which I knew about. But they also said he once conducted an orchestra with his feet while standing on his head. Is this really true? And if so, how did he do that?

Replies (18)

November 23, 2005 at 05:48 AM · It is true - at the Berlin PO in a yoga position at one of their New Year eve concerts when Karajan was still alive!

November 23, 2005 at 06:08 AM · hahahahahahaha I laughed out loud when I read this.

November 23, 2005 at 06:18 AM · I think it was a jamboree. Menuhin with his feet for Beethoven's Sym 5. Ozawa conducting Mutter in Sarasate's Gypsy Airs (Mutter dressed as a gypsy), etc, etc.

November 23, 2005 at 09:28 PM · I apologize in advance for the following, but the opportunity is simply irresistable:

If you'll pardon the off-the-cuff remark (with tongue in cheek), and now that I've got my foot in the door, I suppose that conducting with one's feet is most appropriate for sole music, but then to stay instep you have to act like a real heel to stay on the ball and keep the orchestra on their toes. But I suppose this is good way to conduct if you need a conductor for the Fallen Archduke Trio or the Kneelson Concerto (especially if played by Heifoots, Shoemsky, Menushin, Pinky, or Itsock). I don't mean to be callous, just make sure you avoid any bootleg recordings. Ooops, I forgot the Hammertoeclavier Sonata and the Corngold Concerto and the School for Sandals Overture and the William Tell Overshoe and the Adagio for Shoestrings and Eine Kleine Nikemusic. And you must make sure to play it with a new triple-E string. Ballet music, anyone?

I do remember hearing about that Menuhin "performance." My question is...Which way was he facing? (And it's a good thing he wasn't wearing a dress.)

November 23, 2005 at 10:45 PM · He he he he, good one, I was giggling a full five minutes! Hey, does anybody know if are there any pictures of this performance? What a laugh!

P.S. You forgot to mention that Anne Sophie Footer, Gil Shoeham, David Toestrahk, and George Eneshoe all blistered up the stage at Cornegie Hall, especially with their performances of Shoenberg, Bootok, and Shoevisky. : )

November 23, 2005 at 10:53 PM · Oh, my. I must be slippering. And what about that wonderful conductor, Thomas Slippers?

November 23, 2005 at 11:46 PM · I forgot to mention that audiences also get a kick out of Sockhousen and Paganiknee. However, I have have heard that Menushin's left foot pizzicatoe has gotten rather lame reviews. . . (Sorry, just couldn't resist)

November 24, 2005 at 05:51 PM · I see we are running far afield from the original topic. My wife (who was wearing a Kreisler shift at the time) told me once that I shouldn't be foot dragging on a topic like this. At that concert, Menuhin conducted the orchestra better than he conducted himself, although he must have gotten a kick out of seeing everything upside down. Thank God he decided to conduct only with his feet. However, his performance of the Tales of Hoofman was tastefully done without stepping over the line (especially the recarpetulation section). The audience was really floored; he really caught them flatfooted off guard, especially by the singing of Buster Brownhilde (with that wonderful solo over the pedal point). He had previously sung with Feetwangler.

(I think that after going down this road, I'm getting tapped out. They're going to have to auction off this thread at Hubay.)

December 2, 2005 at 09:40 PM · One of my violin teachers told me once that conductors are much more impressive from the audience (i.e., from the back) than if you are in front of them and have to follow their beat. It seems that the Menuhin foot-performance made him impressive from both sides of the podium.

December 3, 2005 at 12:54 AM · Okay, somebody please hit the gong. Over and over again. There is treachery ...afoot...GODDAMMIT, couldn't resist.

December 3, 2005 at 03:50 AM · (Hey, Ruth: I think this thread is contagious.)

December 3, 2005 at 11:11 AM · Sander, maybe a tad of foot and mouth disease going around!

December 3, 2005 at 02:54 PM · Larry, I think you nailed it. You've got a leg up on the rest of us. This whole discussion is creating more than a foot-candle of power.

December 7, 2005 at 03:13 AM · I haven't heard the pitter-patter of little feet following up on this thread. Are we into the same old stomping grounds, or are we marching to the beat of a different drummer, or are we tip-toeing around the truth? And who will sock it to this topic and give it the final boot? And what about Yehudi Menuhin and his upside-down conducting? Have we relegated him to Boot Hill?

December 7, 2005 at 03:28 AM · Who knows?

I've played under Menuhin and I never saw him do it, but...hey...he was into some neat feats for his day...

December 7, 2005 at 01:38 PM · All kidding aside. That must have been great.

December 7, 2005 at 01:49 PM · Gosh Sander, didn't think this topic would get you going like this. You must be a real expert in pedi-gogy. : )

December 7, 2005 at 04:30 PM · Ruth: Good Lord! I think I'm punned out. You may very well have had the last word (unless I wake up in the middle of the night and another one occurs to me).

Cordially, Sandy

This discussion has been archived and is no longer accepting responses.

Facebook YouTube Instagram Email is made possible by...

Shar Music
Shar Music Shopping Guide Shopping Guide

Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra
Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra

Dimitri Musafia, Master Maker of Violin and Viola Cases
Dimitri Musafia, Master Maker of Violin and Viola Cases

Anne Cole Violin Maker
Anne Cole Violin Maker

Miroirs CA Classical Music Journal
Miroirs CA Classical Music Journal

Pirastro Strings
Pirastro Strings

JR Judd Violins
JR Judd Violins

Los Angeles Philharmonic
Los Angeles Philharmonic

Corilon Violins
Corilon Violins

Classic Violin Olympus

Coltman Chamber Music Competition

Metzler Violin Shop

Southwest Strings

Bobelock Cases

Johnson String Instrument/Carriage House Violins

Bay Fine Strings Violin Shop

Jargar Strings


Violin Lab



Nazareth Gevorkian Violins

Laurie's Books

Discover the best of in these collections of editor Laurie Niles' exclusive interviews. Interviews Volume 1 Interviews Volume 1, with introduction by Hilary Hahn Interviews Volume 2 Interviews Volume 2, with introduction by Rachel Barton Pine