April 25, 2020

Like so many things right now, this article is very different from the one I imagined I would be writing.

There are a few things in life that you know will be life-changing.  For all of us who have careers, retirement is a big one: it changes so much, it redefines you,...

December 25, 2019

Banda members warming up in costume as gypsies and Spanish musicians

Have you ever wondered about those people playing musical instruments onstage at the opera? Or hear music coming from someplace other than the pit? Is it live or recorded? Are they really playing onsta...

November 4, 2019

The Chicago area musical community has lost a dear friend and treasured colleague. Matt Mantell, violist, lost his battle with cancer on September 28.

Matt was one of the hardest working people you can imagine. He was Principal Viola in both the Elgin Symphony and Ill...

March 3, 2019

What do a furloughed TSA agent and a short, late-middle-aged opera violinist have in common?  More than you might think.

My family and I traveled to Oklahoma this December to continue an important tradition established after the death of my mother in 2003, spending Chri...

October 26, 2018

Our return to the pit on October 17 for our first post-strike opera, La Boheme, was an emotional time for all of us.  But we needn’t have worried about our maestro and our audience that night – we were enthusiastically welcomed and supported.

Maestro Domingo Hindoy...

September 11, 2018

Do you get told regularly how lucky you are to have the job you have?  I do.

Don’t get me wrong, I do feel fortunate…because anyone who discounts the importance of good fortune probably was born on third base and thinks they hit a triple, if you know what I mean.  But i...

August 5, 2018

“Without the singers there is no opera...You also have to have a great orchestra and great conductor…Here, we have the same pool of musicians in the pit for every opera, and each production has the exact same players for the entire run.  The sense of ensemble and playi...

When I joined the Lyric Opera of Chicago, I had a lot to learn about being in an opera orchestra. Over the following years I logged in many performances of many operas: some old saws like La Boheme and Tosca, some less familiar and exciting operas like Samuel Barb...

June 11, 2018

Over the last few months, we have written a lot about the physical needs of musicians, with an emphasis on the special circumstances of working in a crowded orchestra pit.  Why are we spending so much time on prevention and non-traditional therapies? 

To begin wi...

November 28, 2017

Most of us with full-time, professional playing careers depend upon help of some sort to keep us going. Physical therapy, acupuncture, strength training, and nutrition play a big part in our lives, and a great many of us need cushions, back supports, straps, foam rolle...

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