Frank Huang Headed to New York

On Wednesday, the New York Philharmonic announced that violinist Frank Huang will become its new concertmaster, succeeding Glenn Dicterow who stepped down last June after 34 seasons. The 36-year-old Huang is currently concertmaster of the Houston Symphony. He has held that position since 2010. Before joining the Houston Symphony, he briefly served as first violinist of the Ying Quartet and professor of violin and chamber music at the Eastman School of Music. He …

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When Less is More

The best conductors know when to get out of the way. They have an intuitive sense for those rare moments when the music is cooking along on its own and they allow it to blossom. Expressive power grows from economy. The big gesture means more when it’s reserved for the right moment. On one level, conducting involves a mysterious “give and take” between the ensemble and the person on the podium. In physics …

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An Orchestra and Its Community

Great orchestras gradually develop a unique sound and style of playing. This process takes place over time as conductors come and go, leaving their mark and new players are gradually assimilated. In the days when I was traveling between many orchestras as a free-lance violinist I could sense the “soul” of each organization. The ongoing lockout at the Minnesota Orchestra is tragic and frightening because it may ultimately show how quickly a …

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The View From The Stage: Real Life in a Professional Orchestra

A few years ago an enthusiastic audience member approached me after a concert. “I used to play a little clarinet in high school,” she said.  “How do I get  into the Richmond Symphony?” I explained the long, hard road I had traveled to become a professional musician. Then, with a look of confusion she said, “But you can’t actually make a living doing this, can you?” Conversations like this reveal the disconnect between …

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Take A Friend To The Orchestra

In 2006 Drew McManus asked me to contribute an article to his annual Take A Friend To The Orchestra series. Widely regarded as an industry expert, Drew is a respected orchestra consultant and the author of the popular blog, Adaptistration. Soliciting ideas from a wide range of perspectives within the music business, Take A Friend To The Orchestra (TAFTO) tackles the challenge of introducing orchestral music to people who are not in …

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