Orchestras: Flying the Coop

Nobody really sees him. Nobody really hears him. He is the fellow in the frayed white tie and tails, the one buried seven rows back peering sourly through a cluster of elbows. He is the symphony musician — bored, frustrated and anonymous. So he didn't become the second Heifetz as everybody back in Glen Falls said he would. There was nothing else to do but join a big-city symphony, file lock-step onto the stage — no talking, please — and, at the nod of the imperious maestro, saw away mechanically at the Brahms First for the 101st time.

Now, however,...

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