When the Omni Quartet was approached to perform for the US ambassador to Slovakia in Bratislava, we were not only excited about the opportunity to experience a place we’d never been, but to also reconnect our string quartet voices on what has been a rewarding and unrelenting tour both in terms of travel and the sheer girth of symphonic repertoire. Many skills used in section orchestral playing are highlighted in chamber music playing: knowing when to blend one’s sound and with whom to blend with; spontaneously reacting to how a solo line is being shaped; and also understanding when to bring out one’s own line. We knew that preparing for and performing this concert would not only be a joy in and of itself, but would also sharpen and hone the skills we use daily in the Cleveland Orchestra. Our program offering was Beethoven’s epic late String Quartet, Opus 132, chosen to parallel the Beethoven/Shostakovich festival with TCO.
Surprisingly, Bratislava is only an hour east of Vienna by car. As daylight waned, we passed through some beautiful, quaint towns, hoping each time they would be our destination. Dusk settled, and we finally found ourselves in a sprawling modern city, crowned by a brightly-lit, white castle on a hill overlooking the city. We were warmly welcomed at the Primatial Palace, and ushered up a grand staircase to our concert space, the Hall of Mirrors. After a brief sound check, the audience filled the room, and opening remarks were made. Guests included dignitaries from the US, Slovakia, TCO representatives, as well as a few of our own quartet family members. It was particularly meaningful to have the parents of our violist Joanna Patterson Zakany in attendance, (both of whom are wonderful musicians).
As we drew the first notes of Beethoven from our instruments, it was clear that the warm and live acoustics one could only expect from a room called the Hall of Mirrors, would be a fine environment to experience the mercurial world of late Beethoven.
After the performance, we all moved to the reception where we were treated to a beautiful array of cakes and fruit. Needless to say, touring can be quite a challenge to the waistline. It was only at the reception that we began to piece together the true significance of a TCO concert in Bratislava. The American Ambassador explained to us that Bratislava was the sister city to Cleveland. Not only that, but he himself comes from Lakewood, OH. He is a great lover of the arts, and has chosen to decorate his home with paintings by Cleveland artists on loan to him from our own Cleveland Museum of Art. There seemed to be a great deal of goodwill between our Slovakian friends and our TCO leadership. Who can say what this event will lead to, but we would be overjoyed to become better acquainted with our sister city, and to have a chance to perform there as an orchestra.
The 2013 Blossom Photo Contest
Share your photos from your Blossom Festival concert experience on the “Cleveland Orchestra Musicians” Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/ClevelandOrchestraMusicians).
Did you enjoy the concert? Care to share a few fun picnic photos? WE WOULD LOVE TO SEE IT! Please share your favorites now:
*Post photos of you, your family and friends, i.e. of your Blossom Festival experience, on the picturesque Blossom grounds.
The 10 photos with the most “likes” will win a CD featuring a member of the Cleveland Orchestra. We will also showcase these select photos on our website and FB page.
Please follow these simple guidelines:
- 1. Post/share your photos from your 2013 Cleveland Orchestra concert at Blossom to the Cleveland Orchestra Musicians Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/ClevelandOrchestraMusicians)
- 2. Please title your photo “2013BPC” and add the date when it was taken (for example “2013BPC” – August 11). Any photos from the 2013 Blossom Festival will be accepted.
- 3. Encourage your friends to “like” your photo submissions.
David Zauder (1928/1931-2013)
Our colleague, trumpeter David Zauder, passed away earlier this week surrounded by his family. Despite being a Holocaust survivor, David kept an inspiring outlook on life (below you can find a link to an interview with him). David served in the trumpet section from 1958-1997, was the Orchestra’s Personnel Manager and Assistant Personnel Manger for 36 Seasons and a stalwart friend of the institution. He will be greatly missed.
In Gary Henson’s “Perspectives from the Executive Director” he writes, “I remember David as a leader who faced every challenge with good humor and good judgment. And no matter how difficult the situation, you were always aware of his love for the institution, and for the people around him. He cared about everyone and no occasion in the lives of his colleagues was too small to go unrecognized.”
David’s daughter, Karen Z. Brass, has written a descriptive book on David’s survival of four concentration camps, entitled, “I am a Standupster” and is available at www.amazon.com. More information about David’s life may be found at www.standupsters.com.
Shamrock 10m Run (St. Patrick’s Day, 2013)
Orchestra – A Love Story
(By Martha Baldwin, Cello)
Solo playing, chamber music, orchestra, teaching – I loved them all in college but at some point, we all must start to narrow our focus and work to establish a career that is dominated by one or two of these. I think the most often over-looked aspect of choosing what direction to take your musical talents (insert LeBron goes to Miami joke here), is thoughtful consideration of the daily life. Happiness in life and career is so often not determined by money or status but by how closely our lives conform to our personal ideals and individual quirks. Young cellists often ask me “Why did you choose to play in an orchestra?” This is my answer.
I’m a planner. I am happiest with a stable structured day with a decent amount of routine and lots of predictability – but with some variety. Our weeks at the Cleveland Orchestra are very often the same – rehearsals Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday. Concerts Thursday, Friday, Saturday, many Sundays and the odd Saturday morning or Friday afternoon rehearsal thrown in for good measure. We get our schedule up to a year in advance – I can tell you today what I’ll be playing and where I’ll be on a Wednesday morning in May 9 months in advance and that suits me.
I have a remarkably short attention span. No, I don’t mean I can’t concentrate for long periods (although some days that’s more true than others) but I LOVE the fact that every week we play a new and different program. If we are playing music I don’t enjoy I just have to wait a few days – next Tuesday it will be all different!
I love stability and predictability. (While these aren’t words currently associated with many American orchestras, I’m optimistic that orchestras will stabilize again and this will continue to be a benefit of our profession.) I’ve had years that were lean financially and years that were better – what works for me is knowing what’s coming. I like to know that I’ll have a steady paycheck and exactly how much will be in it– large or small, I can make it work so long as I can plan for it.
I love variety. I love that with my job I can teach and play some chamber music. I absolutely adore my students and I love that I can teach at the Cleveland Institute of Music right around the corner from the concert hall and that I can perform chamber music with my colleagues. I like getting to do a little bit of everything. It’s a privilege I feel grateful for every week.
I love to travel. Touring is both one of the best and worst parts of my job. I love traveling and I treasure the time I get to spend on the road with my colleagues playing in wonderful concert halls, exploring beautiful cities, bonding over late-night dinners. On the other hand, touring takes me away from my family which is sad and hard on us all sometimes. Luckily, with my job we are rarely away from home more than 9 or 10 weeks a year so it is manageable – the best of both worlds perhaps.
I love and admire my friends. Music has always been a social outlet for me and I’m lucky to get to go to work every day with my closest friends. We spend holidays together, travel together, play together – it’s a wonderfully warm and social life. I’m lucky – my fellow cellists in the section are remarkable players and musicians. I honestly feel challenged daily to strive for their level of excellence and they serve as a constant inspiration to me.
I have a baby. As a new mother I’m especially grateful for my mom-friendly schedule. Almost half my work (concerts) is in the evening after my little one is in bed already. I will be able to drop her off and pick her up from school, be there to help with homework, and still be able to work full time.
This is not to say that playing in an orchestra is the best job in the world, it’s just that it is the right job for me. Before you decide how and where you want to play your cello take a moment to consider the kind of life you want to live every day. There’s a way to fit your cello into it no matter what your answer is!
(“Orchestra – A Love Story” was originally posted to cellobello.com on Jan 27, 2013)
Minnesota Orchestra Lock-Out
The musicians of The Cleveland Orchestra wish to express solidarity with the members of the Minnesota Orchestra. We are donating $10,000 to help support the efforts of our friends and colleagues who aim to preserve artistic excellence, and in so doing join many other orchestras for whom keeping high quality orchestral music alive and well in Minnesota is a top priority.
For more information, please visit: http://www.minnesotaorchestramusicians.org