Who should you try to please? The audience or the person who hired you?
As a performer, I always think of the audience as the people I want to please.
But as an accompanist hired privately by an individual, my customer is that individual. And the customer is always right. Which becomes quite problematic when that individual has a completely different idea from me as to how to please the audience. And it gets even more complicated if that individual has a teacher, who often adds a third view on how to please the audience. And when I myself had a teacher... you know where I'm going with that.
As musicians, it is often a real dilemma to figure out who our most important customer is, and many questions and doubts come directly from that dilemma.
Of course you're gonna follow your conductor even though you're not convinced of the interpretation. But how do you stay connected and interested in the music you're making when you know that the audience's response is to somebody else's decisions?
For us musicians, the importance of knowing at every gig who our customer is is one of the most important decisions we have to make. It's not just about pleasing them, but more importantly about keeping ourselves sane by accepting the fact that as much as we always want the audience to come first, many times in our lives, there is an intermediary who is our true customer. Embracing that fact will make it much easier on us than fighting in our heads for the audience's enjoyment against our true customer's opinions, whether right or wrong.