Posting Date: November 11, 2008
Conductor offers world-class experience to KSU students
By Kasey Carty-Campbell
Kennesaw State University School of Music students recently learned how to “shape the line” with Bridget-Michaele Reischl, music director of the Oberlin Consortium of Music Orchestra. The first American to win the Antonio Pedrotti International Conducting Competition in 1995, Reischl participated in the KSU residency program during the week of Oct. 20-26.
During her time at KSU, Reischl taught conducting classes in addition to a general session for the entire School of Music. KSU Director of Orchestras Michael Alexander believes that her time at KSU was a great experience for the whole student body and offered students “exposure to someone who works at one of the country’s leading conservatories.”
Music education major Brandon McDaniel was able to encounter Reischl’s world-class act on multiple levels as he attended sessions and received feedback and pointers from Reischl on a piece that he conducted. “She taught us that a conductor’s primary job is not to keep the time, but to shape the sound and the line,” he says. He explains how Reischl taught students to create the climax on the line of the music and show tension in their hands, because, “When musicians see that tension in the hands of the conductor, they will make that sound.”
Students also performed under her leadership for the world premiere of Professor of Music and Composer-in-Residence Laurence Sherr’s composition “Flame Language.” The piece was written to memorialize the victims of the Holocaust and was conducted by Reischl and performed by the KSU Orchestra on Oct. 22 at the Bailey Performance Center.
Reischl also conducted the Cobb Symphony Orchestra during her time at KSU. While with the KSU Orchestra, McDaniel commented, “You will notice in most higher performance orchestras that the symphony is always about two seconds behind the baton in order to see how the conductor is shaping the line.” This experience at first confused the musicians, but ultimately taught them how to perform at this level. “Most importantly, Reischl’s presence raised the awareness of musicianship at a higher level,” says Alexander.
McDaniel agrees. “She always talked to us one level above where the group was to force us to that level. She brought everybody’s level up and made us all that much better.”
Reischl received a Bachelor of Music degree from the Eastman School of Music and has served as a director and conductor for more than 20 years. In addition to serving as the music director for the Oberlin Orchestra, she has also served as the director of the Green Bay Symphony Orchestra since 2001. She has guest conducted on stages in Greece, Italy, Brooklyn, Milwaukee, and with the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra.
Alexander believes that this opportunity to work with Reischl was a unique experience for all music students. “She is an amazing artist and she brings a lot of professionalism and intensity.” Although her time at KSU was short, the impact that she has had on music students will continue to show down the line.