03. August 2013 · Comments Off on Job Hazards · Categories: Read Online

So you think classical music is purely a rarefied pursuit, where what matter are creativity, spirit and soul? The musician’s body does not agree.

Not midway through a high-powered symphony. Not sitting near the crashing cymbals in Tchaikovsky’s 1812 Overture. Not during the long haul of Wagner’s “Ring” cycle.

Take violinist David Harrington. He was in rehearsals with his adventurous Kronos Quartet, preparing to play the epic String Quartet No. 2 by Morton Feldman — it notoriously spans six hours without intermission. Just continuous playing through what seems like a universe of time.

“We’d already done eight performances of the piece, and this 1996 concert at Lincoln Center was to be our last outing with it,” he said by phone from San Francisco.

But pains started shooting up and down his arm 40 minutes into rehearsal. They grew more and more alarming.

“Finally, after several hours of rehearsal, the pain was excruciating,” he said. “We ended up canceling this last and most famous venue for the work.”


My colleagues can certainly relate. I’ve been blessed — only once did I encounter major issues (with a hand) and it was actually due to computer use.

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