Validate your Irrelevancy

As you read this you may or may not be aware of the fact that you are aging.  Already you are older than you were when you started

In order to have a starting place it will be easiest for me to do it from a personal point of view.  I don’t pretend that it is the way everyone is going to face aging or that is will suit anyone other than me.  However, I have had to come to grips with the fact that with aging, particularly past a certain point, comes a series of things other than the physical considerations.  Even though your life will not follow the path mine has, it could find a path that is related.

I am 75 years old.  I love my life and my work.  I am still working and able to do a lot more than I am asked to do.  In order to put it all into some sort of perspective I will add just a few facts which for me add to the general parcel of aging.

The most astonishing revelation that has come to me through the last months is that with aging there comes, to one degree or another, irrelevance.  This struck me like a thunderbolt.

Jobs that I had always been sought for were going to younger conductors and often to conductors from overseas.  I think my initial reaction was an ordinary human one.  I could not understand how anyone could possibly think that a youngster or a foreigner could possibly do the job as well as I could.  Also, I was here and with the recession, because of the geography, I would even cost less.

Some of my contemporaries have publicly jumped up and down berating the world for its lack of judgment, care, awareness, knowledge plus all sorts of other words.

This is an easy reaction.  It is very comforting to think that everyone out there is making a mess of your life and that in reality you have nothing to do with it.  It lets you eat and drink to excess because you are a victim and that is probably the only solace available.

With my irrelevance comes the moral duty and obligation to make sure that I encourage those youngsters (funny to think that even those in their 60s are youngsters) to do it better and better.  In doing that I feel that I truly have a challenge as well as a duty to share with any who are interested and want to have it, all that I have learned in the 50+ years I have been making a living doing it.

So, this blog is going to be, for as long as I am able to hobble up to the computer, a blog about how to enjoy and profit from irrelevance.

Here there is the Melbourne Club which is very high brow and for many desirable as well as all sorts of other clubs with various names and determinations.  I am seriously considering forming the Irrelevancy Club.  Its purpose would be to be completely useless.

39 Responses to “Validate your Irrelevancy”

  1. Lyndon Phipps Says:

    Love the concept of making money from your irrelevancy. It’s fantastic!!

  2. Louise Howden-Smith Says:

    Have I not got this or what. Irrelevancy!!! when ever did becoming a mentor and having the grace and generosity to pass on what you have learned and enjoyed become irrelevant. Age brings the wisdom and knowledge to share with youth and you have plenty of it Dobbs. Surely you mean that others are irrelevant as you create who and what you are – you certainly are not irrelevant. What would we do without the intellect, laughter and humour you bring into our life. To be completely useless you cannot pass on knowledge and for you Dobbs that would be impossible
    If you can make money out of irrelevancy – brilliant.

    • dobbsfranks Says:

      Thanks several million for your comments. I know what you mean and in that sense I don’t feel irrelevant, but I feel that as part of aging, at least in my profession, one has to face the fact that the profession begins to consider you irrelevant and there is no point in wasting time and energy trying to change their conception. All one (I) can do is continue doing what I do as well as I can and accept that there are others who will eventually replace me in much of the performing world which I once inhabited. Mind you, I am coping with it as best I can and am not going to in any way become bitter aobut it.

  3. Dr Bruce Hoag Says:

    Sir George Solti was conducting until the day he died, and I seem to remember that he had bookings for several years ahead. That’s a lesson for us. Don’t plan to stop. Accept work past your 100th birthday. For you Dobbs, that means 25 more years on the podium.

    Cheers, Bruce

    • dobbsfranks Says:


      Thanks for commenting. I saw and heard Sir Georg often. I hope I can conduct as long as he did but without the facial distortions :):).


  4. James Pratt Says:

    Dear Maestro Franks,

    I am one of the young conductors you mention in your recent post. I have known your name all through my musical upbringing and my question to you is: Would you impart some of your knowledge to someone who knows nothing? I first met you on my home VHS player, where I watched Die Fledermaus over and over. I especially enjoyed your technique of 1 in the bar and I’ve always wanted to become a conductor like you. Simply put, do you teach conducting? or could I meet with you and do an excerpt from something you think useful. Most conductors have a piece where they say ‘if you can conduct this you can conduct anything’


    a fan and student,

    James Pratt

    • dobbsfranks Says:


      Thank you so much for your lovely comment. I will email you and we will be in touch about this fantastic world of conducting.


  5. JaneRadriges Says:

    The article is ver good. Write please more

  6. KonstantinMiller Says:

    How soon will you update your blog? I’m interested in reading some more information on this issue.

    • dobbsfranks Says:

      Good morning Konstantine Miller

      I am updating my blog regularly. Most recently was last night.

      Thank you for your interest.

      Dobbs Franks

  7. Ron Barlow Says:

    Hi Dobbs
    Been getting a bit of the irrelevancy too but can’t make money out of it!!
    Like to get in touch re old times.

    • dobbsfranks Says:


      Great to hear from you. We will have to have a drink one day soon and catch up on all the gossip. Thanks for going to my site.

  8. Sandy Clatworthy Says:


    Loved your blog. Keep it up! Us old folks need to make our relevancy known. You do it with your music. I do it by running and cycling and
    passing up the 40 year olds. I will be 77 in two months but I can still
    run a seven minute mile.


    • dobbsfranks Says:

      Thanks for visiting my blog and for your comments. I am impressed with your stats and long may they continue to embarrass the less fit.


  9. Andrew Glover Says:

    I would say something but I feel it would be essentially irrelevant.
    Nice to read your posts Dobbs. I will check in from time to time.
    You know I’m a big fan of your conducting. Were I hiring…..
    Have fun in Japan. ;)

    • dobbsfranks Says:

      Andrew Don’t be frightened of being irrelevant. It can happen anywhere, I am sure. I hope to see you relevant or otherwise one day soon.


  10. Don Morgan Says:

    Dobbs: If I have truly tracked down the person who was Musical Director for Melody Fair in N. Tonawanda, NY in the late 50’s I’m delighted. I turned 80 last December but am still singing my little heart out and providing music for several groups in and around Laguna Niguel, CA. You have been in my thoughts on and off over years as I went from Rochester to NYC to Phoenix, AZ to San Diego, CA and now here. Always working and always remembering those I have worked with and for. Thanks for your contribution to my life.

    Keep up the good work. They need us, even if they don’t always know it. :):):)

    Don Morgan, or maybe it was Ron Button or a combination of the names, thanks to Acltor’s Equity.

    • dobbsfranks Says:

      How wonderful to hear from you. I remember you as Ron Button actually and am delighted that you are still working and brainwashing people in this wonderful world of music making. Thanks for finding my blog and for writing.

  11. Thomas Pryor Says:

    Yup. Sort of reminds me of Don Marquis’ (he of Archie & Mehitabel fame) story in which the Universe remarked to the pompous Philosopher that instead of purporting to think Profound Thoughts the two of them should lie down in the shade and watch the wheels go round; indeed, that was the reason the Universe made nearly everything spherical in the beginning … so it would roll when the childlike Universe kicked it.

    Like the Universe, I have found it rather nice to trade some pretensions for irrelevance … and it’s so much easier to achieve at our age.

    I like your blog. You look great. Glad to see you are still enjoying life.

    • dobbsfranks Says:

      Thanks so much for reading my blog and commenting. It is great to hear from you. Yes I am enjoying life and hope to run into you again one day soon.
      As ever


  12. Dr Bruce Hoag Says:

    A friend of mine teaches theory, I think, at one of the music conservatories here in Italy. But, his passion is conducting. He would like to conduct more than anything else, but has been unable to “break” into it so as to do it full time. The main drawback I see is that he doesn’t have a Masters or a PhD in music. This is because so few of these opportunities exist here. It’s an entirely different system.

    What advice can you give him? I’d be happy to give you his email address if you’d like to contact him.

    • dobbsfranks Says:

      Dr Hoag
      By all means send me your friend’s email or give him mine ( and we will chat.
      Thanks for reading my blog.
      Dobbs Franks

  13. Jean Burke Says:

    Dear Maestro
    I love your blog. I have reached the wonderful age of 66 years thanks to you. I am forever grateful for your quick thinking in getting me to the hospital, in Sydney, when we were working on the ‘Eureka’ auditions.

    • dobbsfranks Says:

      Thanks for reading my blog. It is great that you are still around. That is really the best thing that happened during Eureka auditions.
      As ever

  14. Alan O"Meara Says:

    Well Dobbs, I finally did it. I read your web site! Now we are even, well at least until the next red we can share, whenever that will be.

    I know many people I call friends, in their 70’s and some even in their 90’s and I can tell you that not one of them makes me feel old.
    I was always brought up to respect my elders and now I am one myself (almost) so I have to respect me also. I havwe tried to instill in my children a healthy self respect because with that comes self confidence to face all the many problems life throws at us each day.
    In respect to you kind sir. I also know of one Japanese gentleman who obviously respects your ability without regard to age?

    Keep on raising thet bar Dobbs and keep on leaping over it!

  15. dobbsfranks Says:

    Thanks for reading my blog. I will keep leaping and hope to find you on the other side one day soon.

  16. Norman Perryman Says:

    Dear Dobbs Franks,
    I was directed to your blog by the talented young pianist Ashley Hribar, with whom I hope to perform soon. I was very touched by your references to aging and how we come to terms with it. In Asia older artists are revered as “a living treasure”, so we shouldn’t get discouraged by the Western hype with youth. I am 76 and more active than ever. Even though Ashley is as young as my own son there a sense of absolute equality. Younger people are inspiring and energizing, but I am also encouraged by great older musicians like Kurt Masur, Bernard Haitink, Ravi Shankar and many jazz giants.

    I have painted or performed with many of these people. I paint music, creating live kinetic images that are projected as part of a concert. I’ve just been booked by the Amsterdam Concertgebouw Orchestra (which is encouraging at my age :).
    Check out my website for images, to explain this unusual art-form. (

    Thank you again for sharing so many good thoughts. I hope to keep in touch.

  17. peg glasser Says:

    Dobbs ,I loved your blog nearly as much as I enjoyed watching you conductat the Melbourne Concert hall. xx

  18. Ted DeNoya Says:

    We Love you Dobbs!

    • dobbsfranks Says:

      Thanks for having a read. I hope it gave you information that was of use.

    • dobbsfranks Says:


      Thanks for dropping in. I hope my blog gave you some interesting information about me and my kinks. I would love to know more about you when you have the inclination please do drop me a few hundred pages about you and your deep dark secrets. You have encouraged me, by having a look, to add some more pages which I have been intending to do for a very long time, so I will let you know when I do update it, maybe later this week.

      As ever


  19. Ted DeNoya Says:

    As Sherlock Holmes said to Dr. Watson…”My dear Watson, Professor Moriarty is not a man who lets the grass grow under his feet.”
    I do look forward to reading more additions to this wonderful blog!

  20. dobbsfranks Says:

    Thanks Ted. I will get cracking and add some over this weekend.

  21. Sean Rasmussen Says:

    “The Irrelevancy Club”. It sounds like a great theme for a blog, Dobbs.

    You write very well. I enjoyed this article and wanted more at the end.

  22. Tim Geller Says:

    Nothing irrelevant about the lives you touched along the way. What a treat to share this planet with you. Many thanks.

  23. roger hignett Says:


  24. Barbara Ransom Ballard Says:

    Sir, If you are the same Dobbs Franks That I knew in Van Buren, Ar.I would like to hear from you. I now live in a Dallas, Tx suburb.
    I tried to make contact when a Dobbs Franks performed at S.M.U. But I had no luck…. It has been many years ,but I have always admired your gift of music…Our small town was a peaceful place to live. I hope you are the Dobbs I knew… Sincerely, Another Arkie..

  25. Jann Says:

    Is this the same Dobbs Franks that lived in Hollywood in the 1970’s? You were living on Hollywood Boulevard at the time? If so, i was one of your neighbors. How are you & your family?

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