Guest or alternate conductor etiquette

August 23, 2019, 7:33 PM · So I recently became concertmaster and realized at my first concert in the principal chair I don't know the answer to this. Here's the scenario:

Orchestra conductor introduces the chorus conductor or a guest conductor for a number, then returns to the stage for the song after theirs. I assume I should have the ensemble stand to greet him back, but it seems awkward and I got strange looks from other musicians when I gave them a "let's stand" look.

Anyone know how to handle the situation?

Replies (21)

August 23, 2019, 8:05 PM · Do what you feel like doing and ask if the other members of your group appreciate it.
Edited: August 24, 2019, 1:20 AM · Interesting. Over here in the UK we (amateurs) never stand to greet or show respect to our conductors or soloists. At the end we stand to acknowledge the applause. You could call it socialism
August 24, 2019, 1:40 AM · If you do spontaneously stand to greet a conductor, do it once.
August 24, 2019, 8:50 AM · All conductors get treated as if they were G-d. Act accordingly.
August 24, 2019, 10:26 AM · So you could ask the conductor in advance what (s)he prefers.

So I just wanted to try out using "So" at the beginning of an otherwise perfectly acceptable sentence. So I like it! Oops ... no ... it didn't really work there. So I'm going to be doing that more from now on. No, not that either because it actually seems to make sense there ... argh ... can't seem to get a handle on it...

August 24, 2019, 11:16 AM · Or take a vote whether the conductor really deserves it? You could call it democracy
August 24, 2019, 1:51 PM · Don't stand.

We stand at the beginning of the concert when the conductor first enters. Very occasionally a conductor will indicate for the orchestra to stand at the beginning of the 2nd half; otherwise we remain seated.

Standing at any other time, even if there is a change of conductor, is weird, with the obvious exception of the conductor having the orchestra stand to acknowledge applause at the end of a piece.

August 24, 2019, 3:50 PM · Thanks for the responses! Looks like consensus is to remain seated when the conductor returns after a guest conductor leaves.
August 24, 2019, 4:00 PM · I would agree with all of the above statements. I just think its a bit odd
August 25, 2019, 12:20 AM · In my community orchestra, we stand to acknowledge guest conductors. We only stand when a conductor appears to conduct their first piece, though.
August 25, 2019, 1:27 AM · Do you/should you also stand when a soloist comes on in mid-programme? Does the conductor go off to collect them?
August 25, 2019, 1:48 AM · another etiquette thing is, don't call a concert or symphony or whatever, a "song", unless there is a singer involved. (If there are more singers involved, though, chances are it's an oratorio or opera.)
August 25, 2019, 3:15 AM · One of my orchestras stands at the beginning of the concert and after the intermission; the other only stands at the beginning of the concert. This is the case regardless of whether a guest conductor conducts part of a concert. (This has only happened once in each orchestra in the time I've been with them. A guest conductor for an entire concert is more frequent.)
August 25, 2019, 12:01 PM · If your community orchestra is full of senior citizens, standing more frequently is probably a good idea so nobody gets deep-vein thrombosis.
August 25, 2019, 2:36 PM · Good one, Paul!
August 25, 2019, 8:54 PM · Steve, we do not.

Basically, we stand for the first appearance of any conductor on the program.

August 26, 2019, 11:40 AM · Seems a bit unfair on the soloist, not to give them similar respect. I've sometimes thought it might be good to greet the conductor with a brief snippet from Handel ("See, the conqu'ring hero..", Alleluia!"?), or Colonel Bogey
August 26, 2019, 1:13 PM · Ask the conductor for their preference on when the orchestra stands. When in doubt, never stand unless invited to by the conductor...and certainly never when the soloist makes their entrance. Some concertmasters feel as though they should have the orchestra stand upon hearing applause. Nope...the conductor drives the ship.
Edited: August 26, 2019, 1:21 PM · Paul,

Maybe not so! It depends on how senior! Some of our 80+ year-olds have a hard time getting up (except the cellists who have something to lean on and the bassist who is already up).

Probably won't get DVT with all that foot tapping!

The voice of experience!!

August 26, 2019, 1:35 PM · Lydia, in a program with multiple conductors, we still only stand at the beginning of the concert when the conductor for the first piece enters...and maybe at the beginning of the 2nd half if indicated to do so by the conductor (but that is rare).
August 29, 2019, 1:37 PM · Andy Victor :)


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