20. January 2011 · Comments Off on I Always Study The Music! · Categories: Other People's Words

Some orchestral musicians in the US and elsewhere can be tough customers, especially those who labor away in the back of large string sections and feel that their efforts rarely matter. As a conductor you can experience their attitude when you walk off the podium after a performance. The audience may be going berserk with pleasure, but the back section violinists will just sit there with grim, stony expressions on their faces.

But the Met Orchestra players, even though they play in the relative obscurity of the orchestra pit, seem to exude a sense of pride and pleasure in what they are doing. On my first day of orchestra readings more than a few of the players came up to me and expressed their excitement over the project and told me that they’d downloaded the recording and listened to it in advance of the rehearsal. This is something you don’t often hear coming from the majority of orchestra players.

You can read John Adams’ entire blogpost here. (I always have to control-option-command-8 the darn thing because he uses white type on black background and it absolutely KILLS my eyes!)

I’ve never sat in the back of a string section. Heck, I’ve never played a string instrument! Do they really have a glum look on their faces after performances? I’m going to have to check next time we are on stage!

And yeah, I’ve heard that some musicians don’t actually study the music. (Some even admit it at the first rehearsal.) I can’t imagine not studying a work before going into the first rehearsal. I’d be far too scared!

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