In Concert

Onstage and Offstage with the Boston Symphony Orchestra


The 1986 Boston Symphony Orchestra season was filled with challenges. The audience at the opening night concert was greeted by leaflets declaring the musicians' grievances. A strike threatened to cut off the season. Seiji Ozawa chose to make it a full orchestra, huge chorus, and outstanding vocal soloists. The local critics were eager to judge the results. In addition to all this, there was, as always, tension between players and conductor. But for one of the musicians, the principal trumpet player, the season was both a challenge and a question of his professional survival, because of his conflict with his conductor. He felt forced to prove himself each time he played and his performances influenced the way the whole orchestra sounded.

The interplay between these two men becomes the dramatic center of this intensely moving story. The concertmaster, the choral director, the official coterie around Ozawa, the major players in the orchestra, are all part of a fascinating view of the BSO no outsider can witness. From rehearsal to performance, from back-corridor talk to at-home life, from Boston to New York to Tanglewood, here is an intimate, behind-the-scenes picture of one of the foremost orchestras in the world.

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