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Laurie Niles

September 15, 2005 at 7:31 AM

I'm afraid I'm sitting on the very precarious edge of the orchestra for this concert with Pinchas Zukerman.

Zukerman is playing two concerts, Friday and Saturday, with the New West Symphony .

He'll play the Brahms Double Concerto with his wife, Amanda Forsyth, and Mozart Concerto No. 5, hopefully with a somewhat larger-than-usual orchestra...

I'm hoping this because I'm playing on the fifth stand of the first violins, and he made it clear tonight that he usually plays with four stands of firsts for Mozart. But, he said we can all stick around. If we play really quiet.

I played really, really, really quiet.

Zukerman knows exactly what he wants, and because everyone respects him tremendously and because he has a powerful presence (okay, he interrupts!), he gets it. As I mentioned before, we were mailed parts with all his fingerings, bowings and articulations written in. During first rehearsal the concertmaster changed a few bowings (my stand partner leaned over and said very seriously, with furrowed brow, “Wait...aren't these Superman's bowings? Change them?”) Indeed. Zukerman noticed, and we changed them right back!

What a virtuoso violinist. The Mozart just spills out of Zukerman's hands, with the greatest of ease. And even if my back-of-the-section colleagues and I get sent to the audience at the last minute, I'm having a great time.

Zukerman's ideas are totally exquisite, and he has no trouble turning around and instructing the cellos to play just a little shorter, then demonstrating. Or the first violins not to kick the low notes. Or, the funnest moment for me, in the Turkish part of the finale, he has the second violins playing their flourish with great gusto during the little chromatic crescendo part, you know the one? It's just such a great ride when everyone is attending to these details, and under the guidance of an artist who has such a perfect sense of them.

From Eric Stanfield
Posted on September 15, 2005 at 4:17 PM
Damn you are so lucky...
From Pieter Viljoen
Posted on September 15, 2005 at 4:25 PM
"Superman's bowings"

that's hilarious!

From Pauline Lerner
Posted on September 16, 2005 at 11:03 AM
Laurie, that's wonderful. So often our heroes turn out to have feet of clay. I'm happy that Zukerman is really a hero. You're fortunate to have the experience of playing with him. Enjoy it and tell us more.

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