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Category: Orchestral Etiquette

The Musician and the Personnel Manager

0 Robert Levine

Eight services into a nine-service week, and it was still only Saturday. Tempers were frayed further by it being the second of two consecutive days in the orchestra’s least favorite venue, an aging vaudeville palace with no backstage facilities except for a cramped below-stage crossover reached by steep but badly-lit staircases apparently designed more for

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Music and politics, Part the Nth

0 Robert Levine

The Toronto Symphony finds itself in a kerfluffle, summarized neatly in an editorial in the Toronto Star: Talk about striking the wrong note. The Toronto Symphony Orchestra is way off base with its decision to cancel performances this week by the Ukrainian-born pianist Valentina Lisitsa because of her social media comments attacking the Ukrainian government.

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Stupid music director tricks, part the 11,347th

1 Robert Levine

Those handful of us in the orchestra blogging community can always count on some conductor, somewhere, doing or saying something really dumb to rescue us from having nothing to write about. Our latest benefactor is Jaap van Zweden, music director of the Dallas Symphony: Conductor Jaap van Zweden has won international praise for elevating the

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Dress for Success


The Baltimore Symphony under Marin Alsop has really been trying to change things up in the orchestra world.  A couple of years ago I wrote about plans for an orchestra  fantasy camp, (my words) for adults, and how the amateur musicians would be working with the pros of the orchestra. Apparently it has been a

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How not to make audiences feel

2 Robert Levine

I know that audiences can be annoying, and clueless, and distracting, and all the rest – but come on, folks: I just have to write a letter concerning the recent performance of the Abilene Philharmonic. Abilenians are a welcoming group who are quick to applaud, and even provide a standing ovation. Yet a beautiful performance

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