a triumph over the tyranny of W.S.#2

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Posted by Tracie Price on May 13, 1999 at 10:15:12:

In Reply to: Re: Right/Wrong Seating posted by Jon Pegis on May 13, 1999 at 04:50:30:

Sorry- this is long!

A few weeks back, one of our student conductors started rehearsing our chamber orchestra in the original version of Appalachain Spring. He is the type who is close minded and thinks that his ideas are far superior to anyone else's on the planet. (also, a saxophonist who has never played in orchestra) He decided that he knew better than everyone and ordered us to sit in Wrong Seating no. 2. We only have two cellos in that piece, and the bassist was directly behind us by only a few feet, with his f-holed pointed at our heads. Naturally, we could neither hear ANYTHING no find enough bow space to play. The 2nd violins were also annoyed because they felt out of touch with the 1sts.

The next week he again ordered us into W.S. #2, and it was again, really bad. We couldn't even hear if we were playing in tune or not because the bassist is not always in tune and his sound was drowning everything out for us.

I am in a conducting class with this student conductor, so I decided to ask him about the seating and came up with a solid list of reasons NOT to use it. I asked him if he was open to discussion on the matter (very politely) and he instantly got defensive- and even though I had good reasons, he refused to even consider them, saying "I have thought about this a VERY LONG TIME and we are doing it this way." End of discussion. During break, everyone (and I mean everyone) was complaining about this conductor, and later I was walking with our director back to the rehearsal room and I mentioned the seating to him, and said "Isn't there anything we can do to change his mind?" He looked a little puzzled and said "Oh No, you are not using that seating, that was fine for one rehearsal as an experiment, but no. There are some pieces that seating works for, but certainly not this Copland." I told him that the student conductor had just ordered us to set up that way yet again, and he looked a little annoyed and went to talk to him.

We overheard some heated discussion about the placement of the piano and cello sound and the 2nd violins, then the student cond. got angry and raised his voice and said "Well, I'm the conductor, it's MY CALL and I say we are doing it this way." Everyone was silent, our director was furious and firmly and coldly said "Yes, but I am STILL the music director, so what I say goes."

The rest of rehearsal was strangely silent and awkward for everyone (I wonder why...).

This week, we went into rehearsal, and we were set up the "Right" way, with the cellos back on the outside.


My stand partner and I sat there looking quite smug for most of the rehearsal. We figure we should treasure this small triumph because it will probably be the only time we will have such a victory.

-Tracie the smug.

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