Conductor Itay Talgam about connecting through happiness

Conductor Itay Talgam about connecting through happiness

Last September, something magically happened at the Amsterdam Picnic conference. Terms like “standing ovation” and “unlike anything” dominated blog headlines. What was going on?

Somebody had shown how conducting an orchestra can be a metaphor; for the collaboration of people in general. His name? Itay Talgam.

Itay Talgam, photo by Guido van NispenTalgam is the music director of the Tel Aviv Symphony, and the founder of the Maestro program, a project that brings music and conducting into business settings as a way of understanding leadership. He certainly surprised the audience at Picnic, now he’s about to do the same at Le Web. I hope.

Talgam asked the audience to sing All you need is love, the Beatles classic, to warm themselves up. Good way to deal with the cold temperature at Le Web. His talk concerned an important statement he also made at Picnic:

“Conducting is somewhat different from being a manager. It has not exactly the same meaning as being chef or a leader. In English orchestras the leader is the first violin player. But the conductor has another job. He has to make people connect. So it is about connectivity, about becoming a conductor to enable other people to work together.

Talgam touched the way conductors use happiness to connect with their orchestra members. He showed a lot of video material to support his examples. Like Carlos Kleiber, a conductor who uses facial expressions and gentle movements to support, praise, encourage or punish the orchestra:


Unfortunately, Talgam’s presentation was tainted by technical failures. Somehow, the laptop didn’t connect to the main stream properly. Luckily, Talgam’s enthusiasm still beamed of the stage. After a lot of “no comment” corporate types, his talk was a revelation.

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