Friday, January 19, 2018
THE JAW-DROPPING ORCHESTRA INCIDENT
WHAT WOULD YOU DO IF YOU WERE DOING A FULL SYMPHONY CONCERT AND HALF OF YOUR ORCHESTRA DIDN'T SHOW UP?
Meet David Robertson, the conductor of the St. Louis Symphony. He came to Palm Springs to do a concert for the Palm Springs Friends of Philharmonic, a highly-respected group, now celebrating their 45th anniversary of concerts in the desert.
BUT ONLY HALF OF HIS ORCHESTRA MADE IT TO PALM SPRINGS. The other half, on a different flight at a different time, got snowed in in St. Louis---45 players!
This charming, genial man had a big problem. His entire program was unavailable. He also had the brilliant violinist, Augustin Hadelich, set to play Benjamin Britten's Violin Concerto. The other pieces on the program were Ades and Shostakovich. BUT HE COULDN'T PLAY ANY OF THEM! They didn't have the instrumentation in Palm Springs to do it.
With only about five hours to pull off a miracle, he had to find pieces that the remaining orchestra members already knew, and pieces that would work with the instruments he had left. OMG!
ALSO, ALL THE CHARTS WERE ON THE SECOND PLANE THAT DIDN'T ARRIVE.
The entire orchestra spent the day getting charts by email, printing all the pages and then having to scotch tape them together so they could actually do a show. Pages and pages were laid out all over the floor of the McCallum Theatre, with orchestra members and staff on their knees taping.
And, you know what? They made it on time, and the concert was absolutely glorious. Robertson let the audience in on what happened from the very beginning, and quipped in every introduction.
It was a very exciting miracle to witness.