This is sort of off topic, but so funny!

August 29, 2018, 7:49 AM · So, what are the chances? My community orchestra is playing the first movement of the Tchaikovsky 1st piano concerto in late Oct. Also in Oct, another local community orchestra has programmed the Tchaikovsky 1st.

Just found out, and communicated to our our conductor, that the local professional orchestra is playing, in early Nov. -- you guessed it! The Tchaikovsky 1st piano concerto.

Great minds thinking alike?? Karma? Kismet? Sheer bad luck? We can't change it, apparently. As publicity manager, I am working on ways to use it to our advantage somehow LOL.

Replies (12)

Edited: August 29, 2018, 9:04 AM · I understand that there's a new Olympic competition event:

The "Tchaikovsky 1st Piano Concerto Competition"

Each orchestra and soloist is required to play the complete Concerto (without any of the tradition cuts and without using any of the special arrangements by Arnold Schoenberg, John Cage, Liberace, Spike Jones, and others).

A special panel of judges (all violin teachers) will choose the winner.

Each member of the winning ensemble will receive a lifetime free ticket to attend any performance of the Concerto at any time, anywhere in the world. The one who attends the most performances in a one-year period will win a special Olympic medal.

Cheers,
Sandy

PS. I understand that Tchaikovsky has just acquired a new nickname - Pinwheel Tchaikovsky - because he is the one turning over in his grave.

August 29, 2018, 9:31 AM · LOL.
Edited: September 7, 2018, 8:02 AM · Clashes of date and programmes can happen fairly frequently, and is by no means off topic!

In my city (Bristol, England) we have several amateur orchestras that play professional repertoire, often with professional soloists. The orchestras' respective committees and secretaries often collaborate with their opposite numbers in other orchestras to ensure no awkward clashes of dates and programmes. What helps is that any two orchestras in the area are guaranteed to have some players in common, so there is already a useful grape-vine to work with.

An example of how this worked recently: one of my orchestras wanted to perform Rimsky-Korsakov Sym #1 on a particular date. We heard through the grape-vine that another orchestra, which shares players with us, had already booked close to our date for a performance of R-K Sym #1 and that, unusually for a late 19th-c work, they were forced to hire the parts, so date and programme would have been difficult to change.

This particular orchestra I play in specialises in giving charity concerts in order to avoid the expense of hiring music. Our solution was to go for R-K's Sym #2 (the "Antar"), which turned out to be a very good choice because it hadn't been performed in our part of the country for at least 80 years, the parts were free to download (we made sure we all downloaded the same version), and it is inherently an exciting work to play and perform, both for orchestra and audience. The structure of the "Antar" is more that of an extended 4-movement tone poem, with a good story line, than a formal symphony.

When it comes to potential clashes with professional orchestras the thing to do is to contact the venues they perform at in your area, find out what orchestra is playing and when, go to the orchestra's website and find out exactly what they're performing on that date, and take it from there, remembering that professional orchestras don't change dates, venues or programmes except for over-riding reasons.

Edited: August 29, 2018, 12:17 PM · Orchestras in my area notoriously program the same things without checking with each other ahead of time. A few years ago (I think in 2015), no fewer than five orchestras in the Sacramento metropolitan area programmed Tchaikovsky's 5th Symphony in the space of six weeks, including both of the fully professional orchestras as well as the semi-professional orchestra and one of the two university orchestras.

The same thing is going on right now, on a somewhat lesser scale. Both of the orchestras I play in are performing Beethoven's 8th, just two weeks apart. Strangely my community orchestra changed the symphony on the program to Beethoven's 8th after my semi-pro orchestra announced its program. I believe another community orchestra in the area will also play Beethoven's 8th in the spring.

August 29, 2018, 1:51 PM · Here in their next programme the local amateur orchestra will be playing Bruch's 3rd Symphony. I've heard it a few times and to be frank it's unlikely to get the audience (however many or few of them there may be) on their feet. In future the orchestra may be forced to accept that market forces rule and public taste is very conservative.
August 29, 2018, 2:48 PM · Is public taste that conservative? I ask because my semi-pro orchestra started programming much more adventurously after conducting a survey of its season subscribers.

The question that spurred the change: subscribers were asked to pick their favorite piece from the season that had just concluded at the time. The overwhelming winner was Nielsen's 4th Symphony, which beat out symphonies by Tchaikovsky, Sibelius, and Schubert, as well as the Sibelius Violin Concerto.

That said, the audience around here may be reacting against the local professional orchestra's ultra-conservative programming. At that time, they'd played exactly two pieces composed after 1900 over three full seasons, and had just concluded a season where Beethoven alone accounted for two-thirds of the music.

August 29, 2018, 2:51 PM · My community orchestra is located in a pretty small town. We do concerts in Nashville as well, but are mostly in this podunk town. So while the conductor goes out on a limb sometimes (we are doing Griffes Poem for Flute in the same program and a commissioned-by-us new work next year), she has to program warhorses to keep the masses happy. :-)
August 29, 2018, 2:58 PM · It's not uncommon. Unfortunately, in some areas many groups compete for the same cadre of musicians. The problems come in December, when no one looks ahead. The choral groups plan big works requiring lots of strings, and then get all surprised when they find out no one is available. It's happened the last two years here.
August 29, 2018, 3:58 PM · There are ripples, currents and tides in the quantum strata of the universe. Sometimes that causes people in similar situations to have the same ideas at the same time. The quantum universe wants that piece played!
August 29, 2018, 7:32 PM · Advertise as "Once you have heard us play it, you won't want to bother to hear the professionals".
August 29, 2018, 8:46 PM · That's awesome, John! :-)
September 6, 2018, 3:56 PM · The community orchestra I'm in played Vaughan Williams' English Folk Song Suite last year. A few weeks later I sat in on another community orchestra and we played it again. (I liked the bowings better this time.)

Our orchestra played Antar several years ago. We're thinking about doing it again with a different arrangement (although still by Rimsky-Korsakov), so strictly speaking this doesn't violate our "no repeats" rule.


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