Monday, February 06, 2006

God's Floating Orchestra

Garrison Keillor, on professionalism in musical life.
Sometimes she grits her teeth. The trumpets were bad, or the baritone dropped a wine glass on the stage, and it rolled into the pit and almost creamed the harpist. Often she has something pithy to say about the conductor or the soloist. If she says, "I thought he was very unprofessional," it's a real slap. A famous soloist who is haughty towards the commoners backstage -- that's unprofessional -- it's just not done! A conductor who glares at someone who just played a bad note -- unprofessional! Worse than the bad note. Orchestra professionalism is a world apart from mine prizes attitude and a rakish hat, and star quality, and interesting underwear. And this concept of professional(alism), prizes ensemble playing, and precision, and a sort of selflessness -- and this concept of professionalism can be expressed in certain principles. You won't find this list posted backstage, but, my wife tells me, that's because everybody knows this stuff right out of music school.

(Via Andrew Homzy)
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