Jean Paul Morel

A Tribute


“Everyone wants to do something new.
No one wants to do something better.”

That was Jean Paul Morel, 1954, during my first week in his class at Juilliard. Each year Morel had us submit a list of works we wanted to study, from which he picked the ones he would use. But that year when he saw our lists, he had what I came to know as a typical Morel blowup: first he complained at full volume that we included lots of modern works, but not a single work by Mendelsohn. Then he made the magnificent statement quoted above. And he added a Mendelsohn symphony to the list. Over the years, I have found Morel’s statement to describe a great number of reasons for the deterioration of this modern world.

From 1949 to 1973, Jean Paul Morel was the unquestioned soul of the Juilliard School of Music. Morel conducted the Juilliard First Orchestra and his assistants conducted the Second Orchestra under his supervision, while he and his class of conducting students had the use of the Second Orchestra once a week. All instrumental teachers met with Morel regularly and worked directly with him to help get their students in the orchestras to play exactly the way Morel wanted the music to sound. This all filtered down through the whole school since Morel also conducted for the instrumental soloists and singers and the choirs who performed with the orchestra and also met with their teachers. To be clear, Morel was so respected that everyone in the school wanted to find out and know Morel’s views on music and performance.

“You serve your art.
   It does not serve you.”
                                                                      Jean Morel

For five consecutive years, from 1954 to 1959, I essentially lived with the man whose mantra was the words quoted above. Without compromise, Morel lived by and embodied those words and expected every single one of his students to do the same. He did his utmost to ensure that, for the rest of their lives, they would never, ever forget that they serve their art. And that their art does not serve them.

Since Morel considered serving music the highest thing in this world, it was no stretch for the more devout of us to extend that phase to mean, “You serve God. He does not serve you!” Since leaving Morel, I, for one, have done my best to live that concept always.

When William Schuman discovered Morel’s genius and invited him to join the Juilliard School when he took over the presidency, Morel worked closely with him to implement Schuman’s concept that no school could develop a finished musician in four to five years. They developed the Juilliard School’s revolutionary new intention that, instead of a finished product, all a school could hope to achieve was to teach the students “how to learn”. That concept and Juilliard‘s teaching of it revolutionized the teaching of music over the world and much more. Over the course of my own life, I have been able to master many other high level disciplines besides music and conducting, using what I learned from Morel and Juilliard. The one idea that has permeated every thing I have done is that I have had to do it all without compromise, no matter what the sacrifice. That was how I did it for Morel and for his former close colleague, Nadia Boulanger, to whom he sent me after Juilliard. I still live it every day of my life.

A unique teaching situation

Some conducting classes are unique in the world of individual lessons. In order to have someone there to play the score when Morel gave us our lessons, we took our lessons together so that we could play the score for each other. While I was in Morel’s class, there were only six to eight orchestra conducting students in the whole school, which included undergraduate and graduate students, except for one mid-semester when a vet entered the class, making nine for just that one semester. All five to eight conducting students were present at each other’s lessons. And with Morel, we were not only present in his conducting class every Monday and Thursday morning, we were required to attend his rehearsals with the Juilliard First Orchestra every Tuesday and Friday. Essentially, we lived with him. And, to my knowledge, we were the only conducting class at the time that had the regular use of an orchestra every week. Morel insisted on that when he accepted William Schuman's offer to join Juilliard.

Little has been written in praise of Morel

For reasons I do not understand, except for Philip Glass, who was not even his student, there exist little more than a few grudging words of appreciation from those who knew him and owe him much. Of the thousands of students who played under him at Juilliard and the few who actually studied with him, most seem to avoid any admission that Morel was responsible for anything of real importance in their development

In fact, this man was one of the greatest orchestra conductors and orchestra builders who ever lived and the only conducting teacher I have come across who actually taught conducting. All the other teachers I know are excellent musicians with little or no real understanding of real conducting technique, who teach music interpretation, with nothing more of conducting technique than basic kindergarten-level patterns for beating time signatures of two, three, and four beats per measure or phrase. Only Morel ever taught me the art of stick technique and of waving my arms or baton so that the orchestra would know what I wanted without my having to tell them.

“Conducting is a silent art”
                                    Jean Morel

Jean Morel is the only person I have come across who really understood the psychology of how humans react to movement and how to specifically tailor one’s movements to the desired musical results. And he was the only one who could demonstrate and truly teach conducting technique so that anyone who mastered this technique in full could beat in such a way that, without explaining what one wanted, the orchestra would play very nearly exactly the way one wanted them to play, leaving much less need for spoken explanations except to achieve even finer subtleties within the already established interpretive framework. Most other conductors and conducting teachers achieve little through their motions and have to talk incessantly in order to get the orchestra to do even basic rhythms the way they want. And, in most cases, their movements actually do not help the orchestra at all. Rather, most conductors’ movements hinder the orchestra, standing in the way of the orchestra’s playing the way the conductor wants the music to be played, if they even know how they want it to be played. All other conductors with whom I studied, or whom I observed, taught music interpretations, gave oral explanations of their experience in handling difficult passages that usually go wrong, insisted on score reading instruction and some ear training, and otherwise just talked about music. None actually taught technique. Some, like Karajan, actually taught and used wrong techniques. Karajan, with whom I studied two years, taught wrong, yoga-based technical principles that messed up many of his students whose bodies could not move like Karajan’s. (Karajan later gave up using those wrong techniques completely when his body could no longer sustain the yoga-type movements upon which they were based.)

My colleagues over the full five years that I was with Morel were Jorge Mester and Albert Fine. John Canarina was with us four years. In the same class were Michael Charry, with whom I studied ear training privately, Stephan Bauer Mengelberg, Arthur Weisberg, Arthur Blum, and Franz Bibo, among others. Each had his strengths and weaknesses.

With his students, Morel insisted that every gesture clearly reflect the student’s concept of the music or be necessary in order to achieve very specific interpretive nuance. Always. And he taught us how to differentiate and balance both needs. All movements had to help the orchestra and no movements were allowed that did not clearly do so. All rhythm and note values, including rubato, had to be precisely and clearly instigated by the conductor, whose movements were expected to be able to force the orchestra to play the written notes exactly as the conductor wanted them, even if the player had read or interpreted the rhythm wrong. And, believe it or not, he also taught and demonstrated to us exactly how to do that. The process of learning these things, however, took a long time to assimilate, and was not fully absorbed and mastered by those who were with him shorter periods of time, or by most who came to him with already formed bad habits from previous studies. During my years with him, Jorge Mester and I had the distinct advantage of coming to him young enough to not have had many such previously formed, ingrained habits. Canarina played in Morel’s orchestra before entering his class and remained many years. While Canarina had a mild stiffness of body that he had to overcome, he did understand the Morel techniques.

Michael Charry also had some physical stiffness of movement and an emotional coolness but did have a sensational ear and an excellent understanding of the techniques. Franz Bibo was older and emotionally magnificent, but was physically set in his movements and unable to master the technique. Albert Fine was nothing short of a genius (see Writings on Glass, ed. Richard Kostelanetz), musically and intellectually. But he was physically awkward and inhibited. Morel helped him a lot, physically. But Fine’s sensitivities and other medical problems tragically kept him from a conducting career.

Morel not only had perfect pitch, he also, quite amazingly, had absolute rhythm and tempo!

One game our class had much fun playing was to test Morel on his tempo accuracy. During these marvelous moments, someone in the class would ask him how fast some metronome marking was. Morel would think a moment, and then, with absolutely no hesitation, begin tapping the speed of the marking, while one of us checked him with a stopwatch. He was never almost at or around the exact speed. He was always exactly on it. And his tapping was absolutely steady and even and of exactly the same force.

Morel played piano superbly and could play other instruments. But he earned his way through the Paris Conservatory as the best percussion player in France, playing in the Paris Conservatory orchestra. Hence his absolute mastery of rhythm.

We once asked him how he learned and mastered so much of the art of music and conducting. His answer: “I had good teachers.”
Interpretive chance was not something Morel allowed

There is a strong belief in the music world that a good part of musical interpretation should be left to chance, in the sense that one gets out on the stage and lets happen anything that the circumstances of that performance seem to be causing. Many conductors prize the idea that every one of their performances is quite different, and collectors of recordings prize live recordings for their supposed spontaneity.

Morel did not. Absolutely did not. For Morel, one should not conduct anything until one knows exactly how one wants it to be interpreted in every way. And then one should have the physical technique and mastery of rehearsal technique to be able to do it the same way every performance, except for improving on things one wanted that did not go exactly as conceived. And he gave us the understanding of rehearsal procedures, of psychological reaction to our gestures, and the understanding of further conducting techniques to do just that. What set him apart from others was his understanding of the psychology of how one’s physical movements affected those viewing them, namely how they affected an orchestra. And he taught a precise, effective, extremely differentiated physical conducting technique around those understandings, which I have only found intimated in some French circles, but never really systematically put into effect. For Morel, every movement had either to reflect precisely the musical content and problems at hand, or otherwise had to have good sound reasons for not doing so. An example of the latter would have been when a difficult, sizeable tempo and mood change were coming: one might, for a short moment before the change no longer reflect the music, but conduct rather neutrally, and then, at the moment of the change, enlarge one’s gestures and insert the new qualities into one’s manner of conducting. The short lull beforehand and the enlargement of gesture at the change would serve to attract the orchestra’s attention and force the orchestra, even those not paying attention, to notice the change.

The main aspect of Morel’s own conducting and also his teaching was an extraordinary flexibility of body, which he kept up assiduously and constantly made references to in his interaction with his students.

Not every student who came to him after studying with others managed to adopt his teachings; especially, many had trouble comprehending and assimilating his technical understanding. But I, for one, never worked on a piece without knowing exactly what I wanted, interpretively, and intending to work until I achieved just that, and nothing else. That was what I was taught over five years and I learned that much well.

“First you wash your face. Then you put on your makeup”
                                                                                                   Jean Morel

Through the 20th century there was a steady erosion of fine expressive understanding, rhythmic flexibility, elegance and emotional differentiation in phrasing and interpreting of fine nuance. Expressiveness and differentiation of emotional qualities, even within short phrases, gave way to keeping one steady, unwavering beat, following the score markings as precisely as possible, in other words, note playing rather than interpreting. And what interpreting remained was of an uncontrolled, undifferentiated nature that did not change over long stretches of music and even whole movements of a musical work.

This change in musical interpretation came about due to a movement particularly caused by a misunderstanding of Arturo Toscanini, who was the most famous and influential of a group of musicians and conductors who felt the liberties taken with expression in the period preceding them had gotten out of hand and become excessive. Interpretation, they felt, indulged any whim of the interpreter and had gotten away from what the composer meant and actually wrote into the score.

However, this movement was misunderstood in a manner that resulted in throwing out the baby with the bathwater and allowed faking on the part of the greater number of musicians who used keeping to the written notes as an excuse for their own lack of insight into how the composer meant the notes to be played.

What Morel meant was first to clean up the notes and their values BEFORE adding any interpretations. However, it was still understood that music needed to be interpreted, and emotional expressive qualities had to be given all music, but that, in order to get back close to what the composer meant, one had to start out with what the composer wrote. Hence first clean up the notes (wash your face). It was understood that music needed interpretation beyond the written notes but that getting back to what the composers meant expressively had to start with the framework of notes and their values provided by the composer in the score.

The new problem of the first half of the 20th century or so was that there suddenly was a lot more music than ever before and that music was in a lot more different styles, to all of which no one person/interpreter could be sensitive. Yet interpreters, especially conductors, were asked to perform a huge variety of vastly different musical styles and sensitivities, many of which they had no feeling for. And it was these performers who found that they could hide behind merely playing the notes as written in order to conceal the fact that they did not have a clue what the real expression of the whole piece should be.

No one group/school of musicians was more demanding of accuracy in performance than the French school of music. And, in fact, it was within the French school that composers achieved that greatest accuracy in writing down exactly what they wanted into the music and its notation itself. Some Debussy and Ravel works are written astoundingly close to how they should be played. And yet, in the Juilliard films that include Jean Morel discussing a phrase of Ravel’s Daphnis and Chloe, Morel bemoans the fact that the particularly subtle expression contained in those notes is no longer a part of society’s experience and is nearly lost forever; i.e., that it is not enough to just play those notes as written. One has to know and have felt and experienced that expression contained in those notes in order to interpret them.

In the first part of the 20th century, conductors and other performers were able to choose a repertoire of works to which they had a particular affinity and build a career on those. By mid century, that was no longer possible and more and more hid behind the idea of sticking closely to the notes and their rhythmic values, because they didn’t know what else to do with the music.
Morel often said, “First you wash your face. Then you put on your makeup”. But even in his own class, many placed the greatest value on the first sentence rather than on the last. And many, including myself, hid behind the notes when we didn’t know the real expressive content of a work we were studying with him.

While Morel insisted on the notes and their values being first of all cleaned up and gotten close to what was written, he viewed that only as the skeleton, upon which the interpretation of the work was to be built. And he insisted that, until one knew what the notes sounded like and how they worked without interpretation, one had no basis upon which to decide an interpretation.

In my second or third week in his class, we worked on the Beethoven Fifth Symphony. My turn for my lesson came when we had reached the third movement, the Scherzo. I got up and started the movement seriously and quite slowly. Morel stopped and asked, “Anstendig, is that your tempo?” I replied it was, and he asked, “Are you sure of it”. I insisted it was and felt it that way. So he said to start once more.

I started again, much faster and less seriously.

For the first time, I experienced Morel’s temper first hand. He blew up at me. Frighteningly. Almost terrifyingly.

Then he stopped me from conducting until I could sing that section of the Beethoven’s Fifth any time, any place at exactly the same tempo and in the same manner. In the middle of ear training, he would stop, quickly turn to me and say “Anstendig, Beethoven’s Fifth.” And I would have to sing it in front of the rest of the class. In the middle of an orchestra rehearsal of his, which his students always attended, he would suddenly, out of the blue, turn to me and say, “Anstendig. Beethoven’s Fifth”, in front of the whole orchestra. And I would have to sing it just the same way I had said I wanted it. Then, he first let me continue my lessons and conduct an orchestra. But it took a while.

The Nachschlag or after-the-beat method of conducting

Morel never ever allowed the use of the Nachschlag by his students. The Nachschlag is used by conductors who do not adequately understand the physical technique of conducting to be able to force the orchestra to play together with a well-executed upbeat or do not have enough physical control to force the orchestra to play exactly with their beat. The Nachschlag is a technique of having the orchestra play after the beat, used especially in dangerous passages wherein it is hard to get the orchestra to play together. The Nachschlag is used when the notes are written to be played on the beat, but the conductor makes a strong, hard gesture before the beat and the orchestra responds by playing after his/her gesture. This technique, or lack of real technical control, can make it possible to get the orchestra to play together in passages where they would tend to not all play together with the conductor’s beat. An example of such passages is very soft tutti passages where a typical, gentle beat would not get the orchestra to play together with adequate precision.

The Nachschlag is a distortion, plain and simple. The conductor makes a gesture before the beat, when the end of the gesture should coincide with the orchestra’s playing of the sound. And Morel would have nothing to do with it. It was not allowed in his classes. Not ever. And right he was! Especially because he taught us how to conduct so that those passages could be played exactly on the beat, if we practiced enough and mastered the technique he showed us. But such technique was difficult to master. It demanded a flexible, limber body, and great control of physical movement in relation to the expression of the music, as well as enormous concentration on the notes to be played and on the precise movement of one’s own gesture.

Morel blew up more than most. But when one finally understood him, one knew it was never out of anger with someone. It was purely out of pain for how things were that should not be so. Especially when music was interpreted in a lazy, poorly prepared, or vulgar manner. For Morel, music was the highest expression of God. It was holy.

Morel was surprisingly self-effacing. His manner of acknowledging applause or praise was, for me, the epitome of French elegance and gracious dedication to music per se, without self-aggrandizement.  He enjoyed teaching and taught without compromise. During my five years, he was never away from school during class time. Never. He did not, like many other conductors, travel often and only teach his classes whenever he was able to attend them. He was always there, for his lessons and for his rehearsals with the Juilliard First Orchestra. Always.

He taught us at least four days a week for the whole morning and often for part of the midday or early afternoon. He scheduled his coaching and rehearsal with the Met Opera in the afternoons and evenings and on Wednesdays, when they were free. When Juilliard events needed the time, he gave it. Totally. That always came first.

I have never understood why few of his students have written much about him. They all profited enormously from his teaching.

Only one person I know gives Morel his full due, and he was not a student of Morel, but a composer who recognized the brilliance of both Morel and another student of Morel’s, Albert Fine (who developed health problems and passed away much too young). That person is Philip Glass in “Writings on Glass”. Philip, a composition student at Juilliard while I was in Morel’s class, spent a lot of time around Morel during most of his rehearsals, came to know the man quite well, and also studied composition privately with the genial Albert Fine. Fine had completed his studies with Nadia Boulanger as a composer before coming to Morel’s conducting class. Philip provides the only description of Morel I know of that gives real insight into the genius of the man. But, since Philip Glass was not a student of Morel, he cannot provide a full description of the greatness of the man’s conducting and teaching.

It took me the whole five years, but when I graduated, Morel finally gave me a superior grade, at which time I was awarded one of ten specially reserved “Thank you” German Government Grants (Dankstipendium) earmarked for the ten best schools in ten different fields, mine being that for the field of music, which was given to Juilliard. Although my grant was to study in West Berlin, Morel sent me right off to work with Nadia Boulanger in Paris and Fontainebleau, armed with a letter telling her exactly what work I needed. Mlle. Boulanger thought so highly of Morel that she and her assistant Annette Dieudonne immediately started what Morel told her to do. And the highest tribute to Morel’s teaching of conducting, itself, is that during the years I studied off and on with Mlle. at Fontainebleau and privately at every opportunity in Paris, Mlle. never once told me a single thing about conducting technique. Not once! And she had me doing technically complex works like Stravinsky’s Dumbarton Oaks and Bach’s Magnificat.

Morel’s technique

In Morel’s teaching of conducting technique, he actually taught us the psychology of human reaction to physical movement, i.e., how peopl e would react to the gestures we make. And he taught us how to embody that understanding in our movements in relation to an orchestra and the rhythm and expression we wanted to achieve from it. I have studied with many conductors and observed many, many more. He was the only one I know who truly understood these insights and incorporated them into conducting technique. And the marriage of this technical perfection with a magnificent “ear” was breathtaking. Morel seemed to hear everything. None of his students ever noticed him miss anything. And he had an especially critical ear for intonation, which talent resulted in a brilliance of orchestral sound, especially in the brass, which I have seldom, if ever, heard elsewhere. For example, the brass in his performance of the Parsifal Prelude with the Juilliard First Orchestra had a luminous, radiant exquisiteness that my ear longs for but has not found elsewhere. And it was achieved purely by balancing and tuning and his gestures, without any talking about the expressive content. What was needed to elicit the requisite expression was contained solely in Morel’s manner and in his gestures themselves.

We came at 9:00 AM and did between a half hour and an hour of ear-training every session, without fail. Sometimes it was music dictation, sometimes it was solfeggio, and sometimes it was both over the whole first hour.

Since we had to play for each other during our lessons, we were all together in the same class. At 18 and 17, Mester and I were the two youngest in my class, while the graduate student, Franz Bibo, was in his 50s. The clearly enunciated policy and belief of the school during those times when Juilliard was led by William Schuman was that there are few real natural-born conductors in the world, and there was no point in training those who were not. For example, when I auditioned, the assistant dean, Frederick Prausnitz, met with me and gave me the results in detail: he said I was accepted into Morel’s class for a year on probation because I knew nothing much about conducting and they didn’t know if I ever would. “But I had that something they cannot teach” (his exact words), and Morel said he would accept me on probation….but only if I agreed to take the five year Bachelor of Science degree course, and not the four-year diploma course. Prausnitz said that Morel said he needed the full five years to turn me into a conductor and that it could not be done in four years. Then, in fact, Morel spent so much time tearing down all my old habits and building basic attributes, that my probation was extended for a second year at his request because the final-exam jury felt they did not have enough to go on to keep me. But he explained that was all coming after he achieved the things he was working on. And, in fact, I was just fine at the end of my second year, received good grades from him the third and fourth years and, when I graduated, quite unexpectedly received my “Superior“ grade. Also, when my family’s funding came into question in 1958, I was even allowed by him to graduate that year with a diploma, in case I would have been unable to continue to my fifth year.

But the magnificence of the man was not just his musical abilities. Far from just a technician, Morel was a magnificently educated, highly informed person, who could discuss almost anything of current interest or of classical knowledge from the past. In fact, listening to Morel and Albert Fine discuss topics of interest in mixed English and French (which the previous Boulanger student spoke perfectly) was one of the highlights of my life. Not just the depth of the topics and richness of ideas, but even more especially, the man’s elegance of manner, speech and demeanor were incomparable. In fact, Jean Morel was by far the most elegantly refined person I have ever met. And I mean this in a true sense that most people have never experienced. His refinement and control of his body was beyond exquisite, and yet never ever showed even the slightest hint of anything chi chi or effeminate, or any other mannerism. He was, plain and simply, a masterpiece of artistic, unaffected manner and movement. Which brings me to his body.

Morel had exceptional physical control of his body, almost astonishing flexibility and freedom of movement, and great, accomplished athleticism. He had an astonishing range of possibilities of movement available to him without strain and seemingly without any tensions to overcome. That is quite rare in a human being. Whether he simply was born with much of it or developed it systematically, he never quite said. He did speak occasionally of earning his living as a percussion player during school, playing tympani in the Paris Conservatoire Orchestra, which field of instruments certainly contributed to his physical flexibility. It remains that he had the most flexible movement of his arms and upper body of anyone I have ever met. And he used it to superb advantage in his conducting.

Unlike other majors, where one had one one-hour lesson a week, all Morel‘s students had more than four full mornings together with the master. In fact, most conducting classes in the world are the only places where the students get that much time with their master-teacher. And there is a lot in music and in life, which music, of course, reflects, that can only be acquired by being together with those who have it. No amount of studying, self-teaching or anything else can take the place of being around people who are examples of what one is aiming to become, especially since one never can know what that really is, until one comprehends it by digesting it over time from such a person who has it. In my opinion, five years was just enough to develop a feel for what is possible personally and musically from Morel. And viewing others of his students who were with him for shorter periods of time, I see that, while they exhibit some, even a great, understanding of what he taught, they are not able to do the technique fully. Nor were they able to absorb Morel’s refinement and elegance of manner. And that is an enormous loss when it comes to music of the past, because most of it is based on and needs a highly refined, elegant manner in order to interpret it.

Here are a few examples of Morel students whose careers I have followed somewhat. James Levine, especially when younger, does use the Morel technique. But he had evidently not yet developed the physical flexibility to implement it fully. Still, to anyone who knows the technique, Levine wouldn’t be Levine without it. Mester has a great understanding of the technique and also has the physical flexibility and athleticism to implement most of it. What he still lacked up until the time I last saw him, two decades ago, was the complete elegance and depth that life may since have brought to him. I hope the change in values of modern civilization, which does not cultivate those attributes, has not kept him from that final polish. Leonard Slatkin, like Levine, came to Morel after I left Juilliard. He does use the Morel techniques and even has a good deal of the elegance. But he could use a bit of tightening of his physical manner and less affability in order to complete the picture. However, I do enjoy watching him and it is clear to see that he does have a lot of the Morel teachings in him.

Herbert Blomstedt studied with Morel for only one year and seems, in my opinion, not to be able to fully implement the Morel technique. Yet, in my experience watching him here in San Francisco, he seems to be an extremely religious and family oriented man. His technique is a combination of the tightness and stiffness of Igor Markevitch, with whom he studied before Morel, and Morel’s technical insights. Markevitch, while physically stiffer than Morel, had plenty of elegance of manner to spare, and Blomstedt has enormous depth as a human being. However, from the time I got to observe him in San Francisco (unfortunately in the bad acoustic of the original Davies Hall), he seemed to have developed a sort of stiffness in one arm that occasionally hampered him. This unfortunate problem seems to me to have been health-related. And he never really was able to develop the flexibility and freedom of body and manner that could fully implement the whole Morel technique. Even so, the now older, more mature Blomstedt is interpretively quite deep.

But Blomstedt, Mester, and Michael Charry (another fine student, who, like Levine, also studied with Szell, but, unlike Levine, after, not before Morel) have been teaching conducting for many years, Mester at Juilliard and Aspen, Charry at the Mannes School, and Blomstedt at many summer festivals. Mester took over Morel’s class when he died. I am sure other Morel students also have taught. But through just those three, there already is a strong legacy of basic conducting principles handed down, if not the full Morel elegance, manner and technique.

Further, for well over 20 years, Morel conducted the Juilliard orchestra, training out an enormous number of the best instrumentalists in the world at that time. Morel not only conducted them in the orchestra rehearsals and most of their section rehearsals, he also discussed every program with their teachers, very specifically explaining and working with them on achieving what each piece needed. This is possibly his finest legacy: the brilliance and perfection he demanded of his orchestral students was unmatched in any school anywhere and raised the level of performance throughout the world for decades afterwards, and still affects the musical world. When Morel conducted, he always stood aside and let the soloist(s) or orchestra take the credit. In the opera house, he acted unassuming when it was time for his bow and had a manner that belied the strictness and great demands he placed on everyone. In a word, he was the typical French artist, in the highest sense of the word.

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