The 2/28/2011 edition of the Boston Herald published a review by Keith Powers of a performance by the Boston Symphony Orchestra (BSO) or Mahler’s Ninth. What makes the review unusual doesn’t have anything to do with the music so much as what Powers wrote about behavior he observed in the violin section. More to the point, behavior he defined as “disturbing”…
According to Powers, members of the BSO violin section engaged in a series of inappropriate behaviors.
Most disturbing — bordering on the unprofessional — was what appeared to be some inside joke running through the violin section. Backward glances, grins and sniggering have no place in junior high classrooms, let alone onstage during performance. With a young conductor leading a challenging work, at least the appearance of engaged playing must be maintained.
Although the Boston Globe review had no mention of this behavior in their review; clearly, Powers had a very different view. After reading the article, I immediately thought of a series of articles written by Holly Mulcahy at Neo Classical that examine how each stakeholder group contributes to alienating audience members.
In this case, the installment focusing on musicians points out some of the exact same bad behaviors Powers mentioned in his post. Provided Powers’ reports are accurate, then the BSO musicians might benefit from giving it a read.
All four articles in the series are worth your time: