I stumbled upon this name on Facebook. Being endlessly curious I looked the name Ronald Braunstein up. He turns out to just be some conductor who studied conducting with Herbert von Karajan, Seiji Ozawa, Leonard Bernstein, and Nadia Boulanger and composition with Elliott Carter and Milton Babbitt, at Julliard to boot. He also has conducted the San Fran. Symphony, Berlin Phil. and a bunch of other big orchestras all over the world. That’s a pretty good resume. But there are a bunch of people who have equally impressive track records, so why am I interested in Braunstein? It just happens that he’s had to fight bi-polar disorder. Inspirational yet?
He was diagnosed in 1985 and has had to fight discrimination since then. I’ll admit, when I first heard of a conductor being bi-polar, I thought, no way that could work. How could someone with such a huge emotional range work effectively in the musical world? It’s possible. Braunstein has also formed an orchestra for people with similar conditions, ME2 based in Vermont. I’ll let him do the talking here. Seriously check it out.
It seems like every day we have some story like this where some person has some disability and overcomes it. For me Braunstein’s story is different. He had to face discrimination and misunderstanding in an incredibly difficult to get into field. He got fired from a Vermont youth orchestra because of it. Not only that, he has reached out to people in a similar state and has been able to make great and positive changes in peoples lives, while also gaining a lot from it himself. It touches me very deeply, maybe because it is someone in my desired field, but still nonetheless. On his website there are some recordings of his, including a nice rendition of Beethoven 1. I think I have a new inspiration.