A Day in the Life

People sometimes ask me what my job consists of. Well, yesterday was an example of a difficult day. Here’s how it went…

06:45  Music Director calls from New York to update on travel problems due to huge storm (500 flights cancelled). It’s likely he’ll miss the first rehearsal, and maybe the second as well. This would only leave one rehearsal for Tuesday’s concert. Big problem.

07:30  Talk to Personnel Manager about possibly cancelling morning rehearsal.

08:15  After dropping boys off at daycare, arrive at work to meet with staff to figure out next steps. We decide to cancel the morning rehearsal and hope that Music Director will arrive in time for afternoon.

09:00  We find out the guest Concertmaster is stuck in Philadelphia. Her flight the previous night was cancelled and she got bumped from the morning flight. It’s likely she’ll miss both rehearsals. Not good.

10:00  Music Director likely won’t leave Newark until 12:30. We decide to send the guest Concertmaster by car from Philadelphia to meet him in Newark so she can catch a ride on the charter flight. Hopefully she doesn’t get stranded on the New Jersey turnpike.

11:00  Talk to Orchestra Chair and union rep about adding a rehearsal that evening. Usually you need to give 8 weeks notice to add a rehearsal without overtime. Cost of an overtime rehearsal: $24,000. Fortunately, we all agree that the problem is beyond our control, so no overtime required.

12:30  Music Director and guest Concertmaster are both on charter flight waiting for takeoff. They will probably miss the first half of the afternoon rehearsal.

12:45  Meeting with Orchestra Committee and Director of Human Resources to review new corporate policies.

14:00  Afternoon rehearsal starts with a cover conductor. Music Director and guest Concertmaster finally arrive safe and sound at 14:20, leaving 2h 10′ to rehearse Schoenberg and Schumann.

16:30  Meeting with the Concertmaster Audition Committee to review candidates.

17:45  Brief meetings with CEO and Music Director.

18:00  Special evening rehearsal starts. Only 2 musicians can’t make the evening rehearsal, which is amazing.

18:30  Touch base with Toronto Symphony staff backstage. The TSO is visiting Ottawa as part of their current tour. It’s a rare opportunity to meet colleagues from another orchestra.

19:30  Set up rehearsal hall for post-concert social for the two orchestras.

20:00  Toronto Symphony concert in Southam Hall. Peter Oundjian conducts a great concert, with Leila Josefowicz as violin soloist.

22:00  Make final arrangements for post-concert reception. It turns out to be a great party, with about 120 musicians and tons of home-made food, courtesy of our players.

23:20  Walk over to the Westin to catch a cab home.

I’m actually surprised we don’t have more frequent travel-related problems. We often have guest artists arriving the night before a rehearsal, so all it would take is fog, snow, equipment problems to cause serious headaches. Fortunately, it all worked out…this time.

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