These days, I see more chamber and solo players without jackets and ties. But symphony organizations seem more resistant to the trend. In orchestras, uniform color schemes make sense; but if management said to skip the tuxes and ties, would any players rebel? Would any patrons quit attending? I doubt it.
While this change could help to dispel the stuffy snobbery at a lot of symphony halls, I see that as only a good side effect. My main interest, as a player, is functionality. To me, wearing a tux to play violin makes about as much sense as wearing a tux to play baseball.
When I was 20, a spring heat wave in Michigan -- afternoon highs about 95 F., no air conditioning -- forced a group of us doing some small chamber playing to skip the jackets and ties. We hadn't originally planned it that way. But in the heat, it became a matter of survival.
Well, our audiences liked us just fine in shirtsleeves. I definitely felt more freedom -- and closer, more secure contact with the instrument. After that, I couldn't go back to the old way.
Please share your views and experiences.
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