A Most Unusual Concert Experience
In March of 2000, world renowned cellist Yo-Yo Ma performed Dvorak's 'Cello Concerto' with the Virginia Symphony - a one night only event. What astute patrons may have noticed was that he also joined the cello section on the piece prior to his solo. This is something he likes to do when standard orchestral repertoire is performed and the conductor & orchestra are welcoming to a 'newcomer' who will get only one rehearsal.
Mendelssohn's 'Italian Symphony' concluded the first half of the program, so he had the intermission to re-focus for the Dvorak - a concerto he surely had played hundreds of times. He sat at the back of the VSO cello section in white tie & tails in a futile attempt to be inconspicuous, but his playing blended easily with the cellists in front of him - a very different approach from playing as a soloist at the front of the stage!
As a bassist in the orchestra, I found myself just a few yards from our illustrious guest! At the dress rehearsal, I leaned over to let him know about an altered note in the cello and bass parts (a changed accidental). When that moment arrived in the performance, he glanced over his right shoulder with a quick smile as if to say, 'See, I remembered!'
A few days later, I hiked into the Symphony office with a small check - my pay for a rehearsal and a concert - explaining that anytime they could arrange for me to sit next to Yo-Yo Ma, I would gladly reimburse my pay for that work.
This episode was a reminder that inspiration is, by its very nature, a shared experience. If we inspire our audiences, it is because we are inspired by our collaboration with great composers & artists and even the audiences themselves.
Backstage at Chrysler Hall, my father gets to meet Yo-Yo Ma as I look on (photo courtesy of John Lindberg).
Review from #MyGivingStory