“THE IGNORANT MAESTRO” COMES TO CHESTER
In a free program, Israeli conductor Itay Talgam reveals the connection of music and leadership
It is only fitting that a book that has roots in Chester will be introduced at CBSRZ before readers in China, Israel, Great Britain, Germany and other countries see it. And so, on Sunday, May 17 at 3 p.m., Itay Talgam, author of “The Ignorant Maestro: How Great Leaders Inspire Unpredictable Brilliance,” will come to Chester from his home in Tel Aviv to launch an international tour in a free Books & Bagels program at Congregation Beth Shalom Rodfe Zedek. But to back up a moment.
Itay Talgam is one of Israel’s leading orchestra conductors, having founding the Tel Aviv Symphony and led the Israel Philharmonic, as well as many orchestras in other countries. He was a protégé of the great Leonard Bernstein.
Talgam had the idea of writing a book that explores the art of leadership from the podium. This sprung out of his very popular TED Talk on leadership (with more than five million views). His argument is that leaders in all fields can learn new insights about leadership not from music itself but from the people who make music.
It was more than two years ago that Lary Bloom, a writer and longtime resident of Chester, first talked to him about the idea, and how to write a book that readers with little or no interest in classical music would find interesting and instructive. That’s when they embarked on a collaboration that eventually resulted in “The Ignorant Maestro.”
Its primary argument is that the best orchestra conductors are perfect models for enlightened leadership everywhere because they bring a precise measure of “ignorance” to the task. That is, they are not only open to learning something new, but must, in collaboration with the people he or she rely on, do so in order to complete any new task in the best possible manner.
Talgam’s TED Talk, for example, shows Leonard Bernstein conducting only with his face – expressions, gestures, lifts of the eyebrow, closing of the eyes, etc. – leaving room for plenty of contribution and interpretation from his players.
The book, as the TED Talk, is full of funny lines, which is one of the reasons the video is so popular, and one of the reasons his speeches are in demand all over the world. He has consulted for the United Nations, the Israeli Defense Force, international banks, nonprofits, health care conglomerates, universities, and even spy networks.
The book’s publisher is Portfolio/Penguin, a subsidiary of Random House. From the dust jacket: “Choosing ignorance might seem a terrible quality to exhibit in your workplace—a sure path down the stairs and out the corporate door. But stick with me here and see how it leads you upward. You’ll understand why great leaders embrace ignorance and use it to elevate their people to new heights of achievement.”
As always with our Books & Bagels programs, there will be refreshments and a chance to meet the author. No reservations are needed. For more information, contact the CBSRZ office 860-526-8920 or visit www.cbsrz.org. Congregation Beth Shalom Rodfe Zedek is located at 55 East Kings Highway in Chester.