Writing for Norman Lebrecht’s Slipped Disc blog, violinist Zeneba Bowers explains the decision that she and her husband, cellist Matt Walker, made to leave the Nashville Symphony, relocate to a small town in Italy, and build new careers doubling as performers and artistic consultants:
“Over my career in American orchestras, I’ve found that the proportion of pops to classical in my orchestra job has vastly shifted,” Bowers writes. “I always knew Pops would be a part of my career, and in the right proportion, I found it engaging and fun. But the proportions are well out of whack, at least for what I am willing to do. Compounding that issue is the fact that the concerts have gotten louder and louder, with seemingly no reasonable solution or end in sight.
“Maybe the tipping point was when I had to purchase lawn-mower-guy ear cans to use in addition to my earplugs, or maybe it was the first time I puked in the bushes in front of patrons after a concert from the concussive effects of extended exposure to extreme levels of sound. Or maybe it was just the first time that I realized that I counted down the days until the season was over, instead of what I used to do, count down the days until it began.”
A warning about the future of US orchestras from a musician’s perspective, worth reading in full: