Saturday, April 11, 2009

Rethinking the orchestra

Last weekend's performances were fun, though it may not have been wise to play in all four in the same weekend. The two "minor" concerts, one with piano students and the other as a soloist in church, went well, though I did not spend much time preparing the music.

I enjoyed the two orchestra concerts, but, in truth, I had not really mastered the music. I played most of it, but "self-edited" myself out in the places where I could not yet play up to speed. We had a very enthusiastic response to the performances, and I wish I could have take more credit for how well we sounded, but, in truth, we had six cellists when two or three would have been fine, given the total of only 31 players in the orchestra. As I am the fourth cellist, I am feeling a little unnecessary.

There are two other community orchestras in the area, one all strings, and one with a fairly similar make-up to ours. Both play "easier" music and have a more welcoming attitude toward "extra" cellists, so I think I will try one of these other groups in the fall.

For now, I am working on cello duets and small ensembles, and I have to say I am enjoying having the time to work on music other than orchestra music. I learned a lot during orchestra season about using various fingerings and improving my speed (not quite enough), and glad to have the time to slow down a bit and integrate it with the rest of my playing.


Marisa said...

It's nice that you have a several community orchestras available to play for. We only have one here in Miami and it charges dues. Plus it already has eight cellists.

CelloGirl said...

I've played in a couple of orchestras and then finally just quit the orchestra thing altogether. Although I did learn a lot and got introduced to new music, I much prefer playing chamber music. It's much more intimate and you can pick what you want to play. I got lucky and found a string quartet very early on so orchestra was always a side project.

I suppose I'm just not a team player ;-) I want the cello seat all to myself!

Maricello said...

Marisa, Wow, 8 cellists! How many in the orchestra altogether?

Our orchestra (I helped found it and was on the board until I resigned, after this concert, to do other things) also charges: $100 per 10-week concert session, but dues do not pay for all costs, and we ask people for donations at concerts and look for other funding sources (again, too much for me right now, as it takes away time from practicing).

The string ensemble also charges $100 per semester (it is at the local conservatory), but the 3rd orchestra is free. The orchestra I have been in had rehearsals at a location one-third of a mile from my house. The other two are 30-45 minutes away.

CelloGirl, I do agree about the joys of being the only cellist and about picking your own music, and self-directing the rehearsals. I am the only cellist in two other groups (fiddlers and a flute choir, not a traditional string quartet).

I did enjoy the thrill of being in an orchestra and creating all that wonderful music together though, so will probably try again, after a lovely summer of ensembles.

yarnplayer said...

Sounds like it was exciting, and nice photo! I have to "self-edit" my parts all the time, LOL. I don't think it's ever possible to have "too many cellos".