The Conductor of the Boston Philharmonic Orchestra’s Blog

Benjamin Zander, conductor of the Boston Philharmonic Orchestra, has a blog:

This story is about orchestra empowerment.

Throughout the rehearsal process of Mahler’s Ninth Symphony with the Philharmonia Orchestra of London, I had been aware that one of the violinists had been sitting in an overly-relaxed, almost slouched position. By the time of the dress rehearsal, her posture, still unchanged, was in noticeable contrast to the other players, who were now fired-up and physically demonstrative. Although her playing was completely professional, the gut-wrenching intensity of Mahler’s final testament made her off-hand appearance, dispiriting in any performance, seem particularly incongruous in this one.

At the end of the rehearsal, I went up to her and asked whether anything was amiss. Her response surprised me. “Are these your bowings?” she inquired. When I told her that these were the bowings we had used in our last performance in Boston, she commented, “The music goes too fast for all these bow changes. I just cannot get into the string.” Since I know how difficult it is to apply a fast-moving bow to the string with enough pressure to make a big sound, I suggested that perhaps we should take a slower tempo. But she was taken aback. “Don’t be ridiculous,” she remonstrated, “you should perform it the way you feel it. But you did ask.”

(via Universal Hub)

Stuck in an Elevator for 41 Hours

From The New Yorker.

The longest smoke break of Nicholas White’s life began at around eleven o’clock on a Friday night in October, 1999. White, a thirty-four-year-old production manager at Business Week, working late on a special supplement, had just watched the Braves beat the Mets on a television in the office pantry. Now he wanted a cigarette. He told a colleague he’d be right back and, leaving behind his jacket, headed downstairs.

The magazine’s offices were on the forty-third floor of the McGraw-Hill Building, an unadorned tower added to Rockefeller Center in 1972. When White finished his cigarette, he returned to the lobby and, waved along by a janitor buffing the terrazzo floors, got into Car No. 30 and pressed the button marked 43. The car accelerated. It was an express elevator, with no stops below the thirty-ninth floor, and the building was deserted. But after a moment White felt a jolt. The lights went out and immediately flashed on again. And then the elevator stopped.

The security camera video is here.

Daily Dose of Ingersoll


My objection to orthodox religion is that it destroys human
love, and tells us that the love of this world is not necessary to
make a heaven in the next.

No matter about your wife, your children, your brother, your
sister — no matter about all the affections of the human heart —
when you get there, you will be with the angels. I do not know
whether I would like the angels. I do not know whether the angels
would like me. I would rather stand by the ones who have loved me
and whom I know; and I can conceive of no heaven without the loved
of this earth. That is the trouble with this Christian religion.
Leave your father, leave your mother, leave your wife, leave your
children, leave everything and follow Jesus Christ. I will not. I
will stay with my people. I will not sacrifice on the altar of a
selfish fear all the grandest and noblest promptings of my heart.

Robert Green Ingersoll – “Orthodoxy”(1884)