Stand Partners for Life

Stand Partners for Life

017: The show must go on – When conductors cancel

January 15, 2019

A recent change of plans at the LA Phil leads us to reminisce on other times we've had conductors cancel. What happens when the audience is waiting and the show must go on?


Nathan Cole: Hello, and welcome back to Stand Partners for Life with "The show must go on." That's the name of this episode, not just saying that about our show… But thanks, as always, for being here with me for, I think this will be, a great episode. It's about, well, the show must go on. We were kind of thinking that this past week. We played the entire Romeo and Juliet ballet with dancers, and video, and everything, and the concert stretched to three hours. Right before some of those performances, I was almost wondering, "Must I go on?" I love the music, and I know you do too. That's one of your favorite pieces.

Akiko Tarumoto: Yeah.

Nathan Cole: It's a big-

Akiko Tarumoto: The music is so good that I've almost already forgotten how long it felt. It's like childbirth.

Nathan Cole: Obviously, I wouldn't know, but I've heard. Yeah, today, this being the first day that we didn't play the Prokofiev. I've just had all the tunes running through my head all day, so I guess that's proof of how great the music is, although I do … I mean, I guess I get bad music stuck in my head, too, but this is undoubtedly great.

Akiko Tarumoto: Yeah. Well, right now, I have Wheels on the Bus stuck in my head, so not a good person to ask.

Nathan Cole: Okay. Well, I mean, that's an effective tune, also. Looking at this week coming up, we've got a bit of a conundrum. I mean, not that we have to solve it, but-

Akiko Tarumoto: Oh, it's been-

Nathan Cole: … our-

Akiko Tarumoto: … solved.

Nathan Cole: That's right. It just was solved today, but rehearsals start the day after tomorrow, and up until today, we had no conductor and no real program for the coming week. That's because the conductor canceled. Daniel Harding, who we've spoken about on this podcast before, actually, I hope you're doing well. I heard there was some sickness or … Sickness or injury?

Akiko Tarumoto: Injury.

Nathan Cole: Okay. Well, we definitely wish him the best, but yeah, it was a pretty short-notice change of plans for the orchestra. Usually, these things get solved instantaneously. It's like as soon as someone canceled, they've got 20 people lined up who can just drop everything and come, for an orchestra like LA anyway, but in this case, it took some doing. It seemed like everybody was engaged. I guess it's not like it's the summer, where plans are loosey-goosey. I think all the conductors had stuff going on in October, so …

Akiko Tarumoto: Yeah. In fact, I think a few times, it's worked out great. I can't remember who it was who canceled, but Jaap van Zweden was able to come in … Was that in Chicago?

Nathan Cole: That was in Chicago. He interrupted his honeymoon, as I recall. He came back from Hawaii early, and he was all bronzed and-

Akiko Tarumoto: Right, and that was the first time we'd seen him, and we thought he was great. It was, it was really fun having him conduct.

Nathan Cole: Yeah. You never know what you're going to get, and just for the curious, for this coming week, it's turned out that one of the so-called Dudamel Fellows, we have several that rotate throughout the season, Paolo …

Akiko Tarumoto: I can't say it…