An internationally renowned conductor, ANDREW MOGRELIA has worked with symphony orchestras, opera, ballet companies and conservatories of music throughout the world
How did you start working for dance?
I fell into this world by accident shortly after finishing a post-graduate course at the Royal College of Music in London. I was asked to audition for “assistant conductor” at London Festival Ballet, conducted an audition – Bizet’s L’Arlesienne suites to choreography by Roland Petit – and was offered the job after the performance.
What makes conducting for dance different to conducting for symphonic music or opera?
Almost nothing! I conduct classical ballet the same way I accompany concerti with instrumental soloists – the difference is we hear soloists but see dancers. Music is supposed to inspire the dance. By just conducting/following dancers and not conducting an orchestra, the music will never inspire anyone. It’s important to know when to be flexible; when to watch and when to encourage dancers to listen and follow the music.
Which are the aspects you enjoy the most in your job? Is there anything you would change?
I have always particularly enjoyed conducting the full-length ballets. There is a feeling that you are creating the drama alongside everything that is happening on the stage.
How do you see the relationship between music and dance? And what do you think the ideal relationship between the two worlds would be?
The two worlds are very different and that can be tricky. The relationship between music and dance is different in companies around the world. I believe it is important for a conductor to be able to give ideas and input and collaborate constructively. I honestly believe that if the ballet world could focus away from “too fast” or “too slow” and consider “too early” or “too late” the ultimate outcome would be a huge improvement in performances.