Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Open Letter to the Seattle Symphony Musicians

Dear Seattle Symphony Musicians,

First I want you to know, I love you best.

Given a choice between the Opera, Ballet, Symphony or Sports Teams of this town, I'll always pick you. What you create and deliver night after night astounds and delights me like nothing else. As I look at each one of you, I see a lifetime of devotion to the art of music and the mastery of the instrument resting in your hands. It is my honor to hear you perform in such a hall, in such a city.

But imagine my dismay last Saturday when you all stood to take your bows and it looked like you were headed to a funeral after the show. Not a smile amongst you, just expressionless, dour faces as you clutched your instruments. Yo-Yo smiled and laughed and hugged. So did Schwarz. But you were not moved by the Bravos and ecstatic clapping. And it wasn't just at the end of one piece--it was all of them. Did you not like standing and taking bows? Did you not want our appreciation? It certainly seemed that way.

Not being a musician perhaps leaves me in the dark on some things you go through. When my husband practices a piece on the piano, he plays it again and again and again to the point where I have to go somewhere else. There must be an inherent solitude that one endures as a musician I'm sure. And so when you come together with 50+ other individuals of the same ilk--I can only imagine there is some friction.

I did some research on you to see if the answer was out there and found a local paper had fun with conspiratorial scraps of fact and gossip not too long ago. I couldn't help but feel sad. It sounds like some of you have a boss you don't like. I've certainly worked for bosses I didn't like. (Current one excluded for those of my co-workers reading this.) It's frustrating when you don't respect that person or find their decisions questionable.

But I thought (probably naively) that the arts would transcend human frailty--that the making of music especially, showcased the best of our creativity and possibility. This week kicks off the beginning of a new season and we will be seeing many of your performances. I just hope you find it in yourselves to remember that in the audience, there are those of us who marvel at you and wish you back every bit of joy you bring to our ears and hearts. Receive our gratitude with graciousness is all I ask.


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