Should it stay in Vegas? Or should it be taken elsewhere as well?

Something was missing at the Las Vegas Philharmonic’s season-greeting 10th anniversary concert Saturday night at UNLV’s Artemus Ham Hall. The musicians were onstage, beginning Maurice Ravel’s “Bolero.” But where was the conductor?

A percussionist stood center stage, rattling the continuous, insistent martial cadence on a snare drum, surrounded by several musicians plucking the insistent pulse on bass and cello. One by one, more musicians walked onstage with their instruments — oboe, harp, English horn, violins and violas — taking their seats just in time to add their voices to the growing whole.

The arrival of the big bass drum, along with conductor David Itkin — there he is! — signaled the imminent climax of the piece, which arrived with a shiver of trumpets, as if the circus had just arrived in town. The audience was thrilled, rewarding the orchestra with the first of three standing, shouting ovations.

So … is this a good thing? Is it not? Is a bit of “show biz” sort of stuff something that appeals to readers or not? Just wondering!

I read it here.


  1. Sure it’s showbiz, but I’m all for it! Something that tastefully gets the audience out of their seats and into a “new performance experience” has got to be considered an innovative novelty, at least once.

  2. Of course they really should have ended the concert with Haydn’s Farewell Symphony, don’t you think? That really would have been a great bookend!

    (We did that once in an orchestra I was in, and we DID leave the stage. It was great fun.)

    I’m not opposed to this, and at the same time I worry that an audience will want some sort of entertainment for everything then. But maybe I’m not giving them credit, right?

    Truth be told, I think Bolero IS a perfect piece for this. As long as you have good players — especially the snare player! His MetronomeBrain™ better be spot on! 🙂