click to enlarge PHOTO COURTESY ILLINOIS SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA.
Photo courtesy Illinois Symphony Orchestra.

What's it like to stand in front of 70 highly trained musicians waving your arms? It's daunting. And what "transferable skills" does a corporate lawyer have to meet that challenge?

"The conductor is responsible for absolutely everything that happens," says Lam. Drawing on his corporate experience, he knows accuracy, attention to detail and discipline are important. He continues, "A conductor is a manager. Some lead by example. Some by delegation. Some lead by fear. Some lead by inspiration."

"The score is basically just black dots, an approximation of the composer's expectations. My job is to put my soul in it, to imagine what the composer actually heard in their head, try to become the piece of music, and move everyone toward the same goal.

"When everything is right – the right notes in the right balance with the right energy – you get transported somewhere else and you're not really hearing notes anymore, you are in touch with beauty. When it clicks, conducting is incredible. It's like driving a Ferrari!"

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