As I was driving across Los Angeles during rush hour for a gig last week, I began to think about how much traveling I've done on behalf of various performances. Mind you, I'm no peripatetic soloist -- someone like Joshua Bell plays in a different city every day and a different country every month. I'm just a free-lance orchestra player, and over my years of doing this, I suppose I've logged a lot of miles.
For several periods of time and in several different states, I was contracted with orchestras at least 60 miles away from my home, requiring about six or seven trips a month for rehearsals and performances. This is very normal for classical musicians. For a while, I traveled to another state. A few times I got on a plane to do so!
These days I don't do quite as much of those kinds of gigs, though living in Los Angeles, an "in-town" gig can take as much traveling time as an "out-of-town" gig did when I lived in Nebraska, Colorado, Illinois or Indiana. Incidentally, such gigs are a wonderful way to get to know fellow colleagues, carpooling.
How far have you had to travel for a gig or performance?
I feel for Patron X.
If you haven't heard, his iPhone alarm went off during the spellbinding fade-away to Mahler's Ninth Symphony at the New York Philharmonic on Tuesday night.
It broke the spell, and it also seemed to unleash everyone's latent exasperation with modern technology's intrusion on even the most sacred moments of our lives. Audience members shouted angrily, conductor Alan Gilbert stopped the show, and recriminations and jokes have abounded all over Twitter, YouTube, and I even heard one on the radio this morning.
And yet -- who among us can say that their cell phone has never strummed, or chimed, or belted out an inappropriate tune during the wrong moment? That sexy riff from your favorite pop tune seemed like a really cool ring tone -- until it started jangling during a funeral, or during a tense meeting with your boss. It happens, in modern life.
As the New York Times reported, Patron X is 20-year subscriber to New York Philharmonic, a devoted concertgoer who is in his 60s. He also hasn't slept since the embarrassing incident.
His company had switched him from a Blackberry to an iPhone just days before, and he really thought the thing was off. It turns out that, though the phone was not taking calls, the alarm was accidentally on. Patron X has apologized to the orchestra, the audience, and personally to conductor Alan Gilbert.
Has your cell phone ever rang at the wrong moment? And when it comes to concerts, what can we do to help prevent this?
V.com weekend vote: Do you believe that instruments by Stradivari and Guarneri del Gesùs are tonally superior to new violins?January 7, 2012 16:28
There has been a lot of media hype this week about a newly-released study on player preferences among new and old violins.
The upshot was that when 21 violinists were asked to rate their preferences among three modern and three old Italian violins in a blind test, they liked them about the same, with the exception that one of the Strads was generally less preferred.
I just thought I'd test the premise of the study, that "most violinists believe that instruments by Stradivari and Guarneri del Gesù are tonally superior to other violins -- and to new violins in particular."
Is this what you believe? Since this is a matter of perception, it doesn't really matter if you've ever tried playing a Strad or Guarneri del Gesù, it's more about what your overall impression is, based on what you know as a violinist. (BTW here is the abstract on the study.)
More entries: December 2011
Revisit Violinist.com editor Laurie Niles' coverage from Canada of the 2013 Montreal International Musical Competition, including her interview with gold medalist Marc Bouchkov.
The Weekend Vote is from Pasadena, California. Biography
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