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Susquehanna University’s Eric Hinton Releases Book on Expressive Conducting

Feb. 5, 2009

Selinsgrove, (Pa.)—A conductor’s methods for drawing full expression from orchestral music is the topic of a new book by Eric S. Hinton, assistant professor of music and director of bands at Susquehanna University in Selinsgrove, Pa. Conducting the Wind Orchestra: Meaning, Gesture, and Expressive Potential was released in December 2008 by academic publisher Cambria Press.

The book examines ways to elicit expression from a selected body of works, including John Corigliano’s Overture from Gazebo Dances, Karel Husa’s Introduction and Fanfare from Music for Prague 1968, Edward Gregson’s Celebration, and Morning Music by Richard Rodney Bennett.

Analytical, technical and expressive gesture is discussed as part of the art and craft of conducting. Hinton also explores the idea of meaning in music, including how meaning arises from performance in both musical and other ways.

In this unique study, Hinton considers what is “behind the notes.” He points out that analyzing music through text does not connect the reader with music as it is created by performers and conductors; the text interpreter may not realize the full expressive or communicative potential of a work, nor fully consider the impact of expressive issues on performance. In short, Hinton writes, the conductor acts as a mediator, taking the work and all relevant information into account as it is prepared for performance.

“The book allows conductors to look at the score in a way that breaks down some of the barriers erected by traditional analysis,” Hinton says. “They can see how to use this kind of idea, or that kind, as a jumping-off point, as a way of getting inside the music.”

In addition to his position at Susquehanna University, Hinton holds a Ph.D. in conducting from the Birmingham Conservatoire/University of Central England and was made an Honorary Fellow of that institution for his contributions to the Conservatoire and to musical life in the West Midlands of England. Hinton also holds a Master of Music degree in conducting and a Bachelor of Music degree in education from Northwestern University. His principal teachers were Timothy Reynish, Guy Woolfenden, Don Owens and John P. Paynter. While in England, he was musical director and conductor of the Telford New Symphony Orchestra, as well as principal conductor of the Worcestershire Symphony Orchestra and the Nottingham Symphonic Wind Orchestra. Hinton has also published in the Journal of the World Association of Symphonic Bands and Ensembles.

Founded in 1858, Susquehanna University is a private liberal arts college that prepares students for achievement, leadership and service in a diverse, interconnected world. Study and service learning abroad, collaborative research among students and faculty, and rich opportunities for creative and personal growth are hallmarks of a Susquehanna University education. The university is located in central Pennsylvania, in the town of Selinsgrove, along the banks of the scenic Susquehanna River and about three hours from major East Coast cultural, financial and recreational centers.

Contact: Karen Jones


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