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Emily Grossman

Concert Nude:

March 1, 2007 at 10:38 AM

It's the new concert black.

(Maybe this would work in LA, but what about AK?)

From Ben Clapton
Posted on March 1, 2007 at 10:39 AM
Hmm... well I'm all up for it! hehe

Though somehow, I think that there are some performers I wouldn't like to see naked, and there are probably thousands, nay billions, of audience members who wouldn't want to see me naked.

From Emily Grossman
Posted on March 1, 2007 at 10:46 AM
If that's all it takes to get attention in the music world, then what's stopping us? I want to know.
From Tom Holzman
Posted on March 1, 2007 at 1:47 PM
Emily - have you ever tried playing nude sitting down? If so, please tell us whether that worked out at all. I would think that whatever the advantages it would have in terms of attracting patrons, it would be much more difficult for the musicians and on balance not help your cause.
From Ihnsouk Guim
Posted on March 1, 2007 at 2:24 PM
Why do female soloists dress so differently from the orchestra? Male soloists do not.

If we want to distinguish ourselves musically, shouldn't we try to keep the attention away from looks as much as possible by being dressed as plainly as possible?


From Terez Mertes
Posted on March 1, 2007 at 2:34 PM
Is it the Alaska winters that does this to you?
From Elizabeth Smith
Posted on March 1, 2007 at 5:06 PM
Well, there've been nude ice-cello performances here and there for the past 35 years. In Alaska you could probably put together a whole nude ice orchestra.

From Terez Mertes
Posted on March 1, 2007 at 5:54 PM
Elizabeth! That was the most bizarre story I've ever read! How on earth did you hunt THAT one down? Just hilarious. (A rather bizarre writing style as well, like something experimental you'd find in a literary journal that's entirely in 2nd person present tense.) Thanks for posting this, er, chilling story. ((Oh har har...))
From Kelsey Z.
Posted on March 1, 2007 at 6:12 PM
Ihnsouk, I've actually seen a lot of male soloists perform and dress VERY differently from the orchestra. They don't always wear a tux and tie. :)
From Elizabeth Smith
Posted on March 1, 2007 at 6:50 PM
Terez, I remember seeing a photograph of a nude woman playing the "ice cello" in Time magazine when I was a girl. It's always stuck in my mind and I've looked it up from time to time. This is the first time I found this weird letter, though. I hope others read it-- it's worth a look.
From Karen Allendoerfer
Posted on March 1, 2007 at 7:07 PM
I looked it up and read the article. If you google "ice cello" you can see what one looks like:

But what would it sound like?

And why a cello? Would an ice violin or ice viola just melt too fast?

From Terez Mertes
Posted on March 1, 2007 at 7:32 PM
Oh, this ice cello business is just cracking me up. Good point, Karen, on sound. I mean, really - HOW could it produce sound? What a funny, funny mental image, having a nude woman snuggle up to this thing and play it.

I love this site. I'm learning so much more about music and musicians than I would have though possible. : /

From Emily Grossman
Posted on March 1, 2007 at 7:44 PM
Since the cellist is required to play until the instrument melts, we'd end up with a concerto that lasted six months. I doubt she'd make it. The people in the town would make bets as to the exact time she would thaw out in the spring.
From Jim W. Miller
Posted on March 1, 2007 at 8:32 PM
Nude ice cello would kill me if you have to hold a cello closer than about nine inches.
From Stephen Brivati
Posted on March 1, 2007 at 8:48 PM
there's nothing worse than a frozen end pin.
From Ihnsouk Guim
Posted on March 1, 2007 at 10:06 PM
Thanks, Kelsey. Allow me rephrase my question then; Why do soloists dress so differently? Shouldn't the music distinguish soloists, not what they wear?

We've just been to a chamber concert. They played Piazzolla pieces among others. Female members try to bring Tango in by wearing something red. I appreciated their efforts, but compared to the music itself what they were wearing seemed rather insignificant(?). I am sure I am the strange one. To me the first note already spoke Tango loud and clear. The dresses were distracting since they didn't seem red enough compared to the music.


From Elizabeth Smith
Posted on March 1, 2007 at 10:29 PM
Which orchestra was it, Ihnsouk?
From Elizabeth Smith
Posted on March 1, 2007 at 10:32 PM
ice cello
From Ihnsouk Guim
Posted on March 1, 2007 at 10:33 PM
Elizabeth - Chamber series at Perelman Theater by the Philadelphia Orchestra.


From Kelsey Z.
Posted on March 2, 2007 at 12:10 AM
Ihnshouk, music really should be the distinguishing feature. I guess people just want to stand out from the orchestra. I personally like doing solo recitals and concertos where I get to put on a different outfit than the usual black pants and blouse. Some people do take it over the top though. For me, it's comfort and class with a bit of glam (like the dress in my most recent blog posting) but hopefully not enough of any of those to distract from my playing. I think it's fine as a soloist to dress up and dress different from the orchestra but I do agree that sometimes it's a little over the top. I saw one pianist once play in what looking like a shiny, wrinkled house coat and another time in this mustard snake like dress thing with red stilletos and the dress verging on the point of falling off... those people I guess made up for their poor playing in their fashion sense....or matched it with their lack of it?
From Ihnsouk Guim
Posted on March 2, 2007 at 12:55 AM
Kelsey - Thanks for the well thought-out reply. I agree your dress looks fantastic and very appropriate.


From Maura Gerety
Posted on March 2, 2007 at 1:44 AM
Ihnsouk, that's the FUN of being a female musician, getting to wear all sorts of fancy dresses. (yes, I'm a girly girl when it comes to concert attire, i can't help it.)

As for playing nude, I've never tried it myself but I've heard stories about conservatories in hot climates where the practice rooms have locks on the doors...

From Maura Gerety
Posted on March 2, 2007 at 1:46 AM
...on the other hand, regarding unfortunate fashion choices, I once played an orchestra concert where we had a female violin soloist who was wearing a very pretty strapless gown. Unfortunately it didn't fit very well. Thankfully a major catastrophe never occured, but according to some audience members it looked a bit precarious there for a while. And that was from the front, just trust me about what it looked like from the back...

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