One of my favourite diversions these days is a blog written by Michael Hovnanian, a double bassist with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra. CSOBassBlog is a fascinating glimpse into the life of a professional musician in one of the world’s great orchestras.
Michael’s frankness is both revealing and surprising. He makes no bones about some performance issues within his section, and frequently criticizes guest conductors (most of whom are household names). Clearly he’s not a man who’s worried about ruffling some feathers. From time to time he also comes up with some great anecdotes, like the time Pavarotti and Muti had a week together (he coined it King Kong v Godzilla).
I loved reading his posts during the CSO’s recent European tour. As someone who organized and ran a lot of orchestra tours, I got a kick out of reading Michael’s thoughts on hotels, busy travel days, and mediocre halls.
Orchestras are fascinating creatures, and I sometimes wish I could write about some of the truly unbelievable things I’ve seen. Of course, I can’t do that, but Michael can – happy reading.