From C.E.O. to Maestro®


In February 1990 Norio Ohga, then President and CEO of Sony Corporation, celebrated his sixtieth birthday by conducting the Tokyo Philharmonic Orchestra. In doing so, he achieved a goal that many CEOs can only dream of: becoming a Maestro for one day.

While Mr. Ohga’s career path was different from that of most CEOs -he was actually a classically trained musician- he set an example that helped many others understand how intimately the spirit and responsibilities of conductors and CEOs are related.  Elements such as leadership, motivation, inspiration, technical knowledge, passion, strategic planning, curiosity, understanding of individuals, introspection and vision, as well as the willingness to face loneliness as a result of certain decisions, are common to both business and orchestra leaders. They both need to create a high degree of “harmony” in their organizations, allowing a diversity of talents to act in synchrony to achieve their vision. 

This leadership development program is designed to improve the leadership skills of senior managers through the teachings and experiences of renowned orchestra conductors. 

   The course was presented at the 2015 IE Alumni Forum


Location: IE Business School Campus in Madrid, Spain

Date: November 23-27, 2015

Duration: 4 days + welcome dinner on November 23

Program Fee: 6.900 €

Academic Co-directors: Juan Carlos Pastor and
Álvaro Cañil



Orchestra Conductors as Leaders

• A brief history of the art and philosophy of conducting
• Why are conductors necessary?
• Conductors´ leadership styles

Discussion of Brief Practical Cases

• Visionary leadership: ARTURO TOSCANINI
• Participative leadership: JAMES CONLON
• Coaching and development: JAMES LEVINE
• Inspirational leadership: RICCARDO MUTI

Developing a Strategic Vision

• Organizational architecture
• Systems thinking
• Analytical versus strategic skills

Effective Communication

• Barriers to communication: defensiveness
• Feedback and feed-forward
• Active listening
• Coaching

Power and Influence

• Bases of power
• Power dynamics
• Power in symphonic music and opera productions
• The conductor vs. the soloist in symphonic music
• Shifts in power throughout the history of opera

Personal Leadership

• Self-awareness and self-disclosure
• Leadership and personal change
• Transformational Leadership Test 


Conducting a Pianist and a Singer

• Music Theory 101: How to read music in 30 minutes
• How to analyze a piano-vocal score: “La Donna È Mobile” (from Rigoletto)
• Practical exercise: conducting a pianist and an opera singer

Conducting a Professional Orchestra

• How to analyze an orchestral score
• Experience first-hand the unique opportunity to conduct a symphonic piece (no previous music knowledge is required)

Attending Private Rehearsals

• Visit to a private rehearsal of Verdi's opera, Rigoletto at the Teatro Real, starring Leo Nucci, conducted by Nicola Luisotti and directed by David McVicar
• Visit to a private rehearsal of music by Brahms, Prokofiev, and De Falla at the Auditorio Nacional, conducted by David Afkham

A Conversation with the Artists

• Exclusive conversations with renowned conductors

A Conversation with the Administrators

• A dinner with Teatro Real's General Director, Ignacio García-Belenguer, and Artistic Director, Joan Matabosch
• A conversation with the General Manager of the Orquesta Nacional de España, Félix Alcaraz

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For additional information at the IE Business School Website, please click here.

Professor Harvey Sachs

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Harvey Sachs, writer and music historian, is on the faculty of the Curtis Institute of Music in Philadelphia and was the New York Philharmonic’s Leonard Bernstein Scholar-in-Residence for the 2011-12 season. Sachs has written for The New Yorker, New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Times Literary Supplement (London), La Stampa, and dozens of other newspapers and periodicals (his miscellaneous published items now number over 650), as well as for the BBC, Arte, PBS, CBC (Canada), RAI (Italy), RSI (Switzerland), and other radio and television networks. He has published nine books – of which there are now nearly seventy editions in seventeen languages.

These books include what has long been the standard biographies of Arturo Toscanini (1978) and Arthur Rubinstein (1995); a history (Music in Fascist Italy, 1988); two collections of essays on musical subjects (Virtuoso, 1982, and Reflections on Toscanini, 1991); The Letters of Arturo Toscanini (2002), which he compiled, translated, and edited; his most recent The Ninth: Beethoven and the World in 1824 (published by Random House in the US and Faber & Faber in the UK in June 2010, and with Italian, Dutch, Brazilian, and Japanese editions); and, as co-author, the memoirs of Plácido Domingo (My First Forty Years, 1983) and Sir Georg Solti (Memoirs, 1997).

He has lectured at some seventy North American and European universities and cultural institutions, including Harvard University, University of Chicago, Columbia University, Boston University, Juilliard School, University of California at Los Angeles, Loyola University (Baltimore), McGill University (Montreal), University of Toronto, Freie Universität Berlin, University of Warsaw, Università di Siena, Université de Fribourg (Switzerland), British Institute of Recorded Sound, Aldeburgh Festival, Maggio Musicale Fiorentino, and the Italian Cultural Institutes of New York, Chicago, Toronto, Vancouver, London, Budapest, Warsaw, Copenhagen, and Tel Aviv. He has been a Guggenheim Fellow (1981), a Fellow of the New York Public Library's Cullman Center for Scholars and Writers (1999-2000), and the recipient of a National Endowment for the Humanities fellowship (2010-11) – this last in order to work on a completely new biography of Toscanini that will make use of all the information that has emerged since the 1978 version was published. In addition, he is currently assisting Plácido Domingo with a book about opera performance (W. W. Norton) and collaborating with James Levine on a book on music and musicians (Alfred A. Knopf).

Harvey Sachs was born on June 8, 1946, in Cleveland, Ohio. He received much of his musical training in his home town and he holds an honorary doctorate from the Cleveland Institute of Music, but he has lived all of his adult life elsewhere, including substantial periods in Toronto, London, Milan, Tuscany, Lugano. He was active as a conductor from the early 1970s to the mid-1980s but gave up conducting to devote himself entirely to writing and other music-related pursuits. In the early 1990s he founded the Festival del Quartetto d’Archi in Loro Ciuffenna (Arezzo), Italy; it remains the only Italian music festival dedicated entirely to the string quartet. From 2004 to 2006 he was Artistic Director of Italy’s most prestigious concert organization, the Società del Quartetto di Milano. Since 2006, Mr. Sachs has lived in New York.

Professor Juan Carlos Pastor

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Juan Carlos Pastor is Professor of Organizational Behavior at the IE Business School. He was Assistant Professor of Management Behavior at the Richard Ivey School of Business in the University of Western Ontario and visiting professor at Lancaster University Management School and Concordia University. He earned a Ph.D. in Organizational Behavior from the State University of New York at Buffalo, and was a Fulbright Scholar at Harvard University. Juan-Carlos' academic background is in Social Psychology. He earned an M.A. in Social Psychology from Clark University, and a BA in Psychology from the University Autonoma of Madrid.

Research Interests

His research interests include a social psychological approach to leadership that emphasizes the cognitions and social environments of both leaders and followers. Regardless of management efforts to provide clear visions and strategies to their employees, leaders? messages inevitably go through a process of reinterpretation and sensemaking. Juan-Carlos research has focused on how followers use their social networks to make sense of events and develop perceptions of leadership. His research has been published in the Academy of Management Journal, Journal of Applied Psychology, Academy of Management Learning Education, Leadership Quarterly, Human Resource Management, International Journal of Human Resource Management, Personality and Individual Differences, and Work and Stress. He was selected as one of the world?s next generation leaders in the Next Business Generation Handbook (Subir Chowdry, ed.). His work has received a US nationwide competitive award from the Center for Creative Leadership.

Executive Education

Professor Pastor teaches courses on Leadership, Coaching, Leading Teams, Leading Change and Managing People Skills and has received numerous teaching awards. He is the director of the Innovative Leadership open program at IE Business School for executive leaders and has consulted with numerous companies in issues related to leadership development and change. Juan Carlos Pastor has extensive experience in consultancy and training and development in the areas of Leadership, Coaching, Change Management and Teams. Some of the business organizations with which he has recently collaborated are Acciona, Amadeus, Almirall, British Telekom, Deustche Telekom, Skandia, Telefonica S.A., ThyssenKrupp, PriceWaterhouseCoopers, Morgan Stanley, Banesto, URSA and Grupo Santander.