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NIGHTMARE AROUND THE STAGE


This was no easy affair: thinking about those events now leaves me with very mixed emotions. After all, playing at Carnegie Hall -- is it not the dream of every musician? It certainly was mine. And here it was -- I did it. The price, however, was high. I will explain: through a friend, I met this musician (guitarist) whose dream was to conduct an orchestra in a major hall. I will call her V. So, V. wanted to engage me as a soloist to play a Mozart concerto. Many meetings ensued. Many meals and coffee between our common friend, V. and I, the idea became clearer: the concert was to be at Carnegie Hall, V. would conduct an orchestra which would be handpicked amongst the best players of New York. And they would be an all female orchestra. The proceeds of this concert was to go to a non-profit organization which defended women's rights. In an ideal world all this had the potential to be a great concert, great humanitarian aid, and great political and social and strategic statement. Except there were reality points that started to creep in: What was V.'s experience as a conductor? Had she studied conducting? How could she know anything about Mozart's concerti accompaniment being a guitarist? How would she handle a high powered orchestra? How would she deal with rehearsals? And what about all the politics on the other end of the spectrum: public attendance, marketing the concert, critics, finding the money, paying all musicians, setting up rehearsals and dealing with the ins and outs of a non-profit organization with its own complex agenda? I was not aware of many of those issues and innocently went along. It became clear that V. had never conducted when we were at the first rehearsal of a 'recording' of the same concerto in the Czeck Republic a few months before the Carnegie date. V. had hired me, an orchestra and a producer to record the work, so that she would have the experience of conducting. I was totally disheartened. It was then that I realized I had been reckless in accepting the whole thing. Had I done it because I was lured by the magic of Carnegie Hall? Maybe. However, the thought of playing a Mozart concerto with a good orchestra was too much for me to refuse... Unfortunately the concerto had to be recorded with a silent metronome on V's podium: that was the producer's idea so that we could actually record it. The orchestra -- in a usual Eastern European fashion --- made it very clear that they could not stand V's conducting. We were at the brink of rebellion. Hostility was felt my way as well -- what does a Brazilian pianist (me) know of Mozart? After the first rehearsal they started being kinder and more open with me. I guess I passed the test. But tensions were very high! On top of it: my computer, tablette and jewelry were stolen from my room at the hotel. I had to go to the police with an interpreter, and the whole ordeal was very painful. Recording done... A few months later V. and I met again in New York for the rehearsal and concert. I was never as badly treated as I was then. It was straight harassment: 1. At the rehearsal, V. would not look or talk to me. 2. I was told to wear a long black dress to the concert, so that I appeared exactly as the orchestra. 3. I was forbidden to play an encore (and I was heavily applauded). 4. I was given a very small backstage room to prepare myself at the Hall. I remember we stayed in the Hall for most of the day, and I slept/rested on the cold floor. 5. I was not allowed to leave the premises. Union rules were mentioned. 6. I was told to come dressed with the concert dress for the rehearsal onstage, a few hours from the concert, so that pictures would be taken. It was a way to control my dressing code. 7. There was another pianist on the program who played with the singer hired for the same concert. I was later told (by the common friend) that if I misbehaved this other pianist was ready to play my concerto and replace me. 8. I was asked to contribute a considerable amount of money to the afterparty, but was only allowed to come with one more person. 9. I was told I was a difficult musician to work with, and, if I would be a whistleblower, I would never work in New York again. The issue on hand was a letter they wanted me to sign to release the Mozart CD recorded in the Czeck Republic. And I, in my innocence, had said that it was not worth it to release a CD which was recorded with a metronome. That did not go well with V. The first violinist and flutist searched for me in the corridors, as though in hiding. They assured me that they really studied the concerto, and would follow me no matter what. I went onstage, very fearful of the vengeful V. Never did she look at me during the performance. I was actually on a very sophisticated balancing act: I pretended to follow the conductor, but I had my eyes, ears, body language and all the antennas I could muster to play and lead those wonderful players. Oh yeah... they really supported me... and I played really well. V. was furious. The real truth is that I felt supported by the amazing acoustics of this magical hall. I literally felt lifted to the Elysium where all perfect and divine music is made. In this experience alone I felt Paradise and Hell mixed up. I decided I could not accept to be paid -- it seemed dirty money to me. So, I gave the check back. In its entirety. My then husband could not understand why I had done that. It took me a great deal of time to heal from this experience. Thoughts of never playing in public again hovered over my head for quite a while. Slowly I built my confidence back. And this is the first time I write about all this. So, I will tell you: Yes, I played at Carnegie Hall. I earned this great distinction. I only wish I shall be back there again making music. This time -- on my terms! -- Sonia Rubinsky www.soniarubinsky.com

Sonia Rubinsky10:36 (il y a 3 heures) À moi Texte corrigé: This was no easy affair: thinking about those events now leaves me with very mixed emotions. After all, playing at Carnegie Hall... is it not the dream of every musician? It certainly was mine. And here it was -- I did it. The price, however, was high. I will explain: through a friend, I met this, let's say, flutist whose dream was to conduct an orchestra in a major hall. I will call her D. So, D. wanted to engage me as a soloist to play a Mozart concerto. Many meetings ensued. Many meals and coffee between our common friend, D. and I, the idea became clearer: the concert was to be at Carnegie Hall, D. would conduct an orchestra which would be handpicked amongst the best players of New York. And they would be an all female orchestra. The proceeds of this concert was to go to a non-profit organization which defended women's rights. In an ideal world all this had the potential to be a great concert, great humanitarian aid, and great political and social and strategic statement. Except there were reality points that started to creep in: What was D's experience as a conductor? Had she studied conducting? How could she know anything about Mozart's concerti accompaniment being a 'flutist'? How would she handle a high powered orchestra? How would she deal with rehearsals? And what about all the politics on the other end of the spectrum: public attendance, marketing the concert, critics, finding the money, paying all musicians, setting up rehearsals and dealing with the ins and outs of a non-profit organization with its own complex agenda? I was not aware of many of those issues and innocently went along. It became clear that D. had never conducted before when we were at the first rehearsal of a 'recording' of the same concerto in the Czeck Republic a few months before the Carnegie date. D. had hired me, an orchestra and a producer to record the work, so that she would have the experience of conducting. I was totally disheartened already at the first meeting in the hotel room. The purpose was to mark the score in the attempt to establish every metronome marking, in its minutest fluctuations. It was then that I realized I had been reckless in accepting the whole adventure. And it was going to be much harder than I had signed for... Had I done it because I was lured by the magic of Carnegie Hall? Maybe. However, the thought of playing a Mozart concerto with a good orchestra was too much for me to refuse... Unfortunately, the concerto had to be recorded with a silent metronome on D's podium: that was the producer's idea so that we could actually go through the recording. D. was really not able to feel the beat in an organic way. The orchestra -- in a usual Eastern European fashion --- made it very clear that they could not stand D's conducting. We were at the brink of rebellion. Hostility was felt my way as well -- what does a Brazilian pianist (me) know of Mozart? After the first rehearsal they started being kinder and more open to me. I guess I passed the test. But tensions were very high! On top of it: my computer, tablette and jewelry were stolen from my room at the hotel. I had to go to the police with an interpreter, and the whole ordeal was very painful. Recording done... A few months later D. and I met again in New York for the rehearsal and concert. I was never as badly treated as I was then. It was straight harassment: 1. At the rehearsal, D. would not look or talk to me. 2. I was told to wear a long black dress to the concert, so that I appeared exactly as the orchestra. 3. I was forbidden to play an encore (and I was heavily applauded).4. I was assigned probably the smallest backstage room to prepare myself at the Hall. I remember we stayed in the Hall for most of the day, and I slept/rested on the cold floor. 5. I was not allowed to leave the premises. Union rules were mentioned. 6. I was told to come dressed with the concert dress for the rehearsal onstage, a few hours from the concert, so that pictures would be taken. It was a way to control my dressing code. 7. There was another pianist on the program who played with the singer hired for the same concert. I was later told (by the same common friend) that if I misbehaved this other pianist was ready to play my concerto and replace me at any moment. 8. I was asked to contribute a considerable amount of money to the afterparty, but was only allowed to come with one more person. 9. I was told I was a difficult musician to work with, and, if I would be a whistleblower, I would never work in New York again. The issue on hand was a letter they wanted me to sign to release the Mozart CD recorded in the Czeck Republic. And I, in my innocence, had said that it was not worth releasing a CD which was recorded with a metronome. That did not go well with D. The first violinist and flutist searched for me in the corridors, as though in hiding. They assured me that they really studied the score and listened to the concerto many times. They would follow me no matter what. I went onstage, very fearful of the vengeful D. Never did she look at me during the performance. I was actually on a very sophisticated balancing act: I pretended to follow the conductor, but I had my eyes, ears, body language and all the antennas I could muster in order to play and lead those wonderful players. Oh yeah... they really supported me... and I played really well. D. was furious. The real truth is that I felt supported by the amazing acoustics of this magical hall. I literally felt lifted to the Elysium where all perfect and divine music is made. In this experience alone I felt Paradise and Hell mixed up. I decided I could not accept to be paid -- it seemed dirty money to me. So, I gave the check back. In its entirety. My then husband could not understand why I had done that. It took me a great deal of time to heal from this experience. Thoughts of never playing in public again hovered over my head for quite a while. Slowly I built my confidence back. And this is the first time I share this in writing. So, I will tell you: Yes, I played at Carnegie Hall. I earned this great distinction. My only wish is to be back there again making music.


This time -- on my terms!

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