On Thursday, November 19, I attended the New York Philharmonic Open Rehearsal at Avery Fisher Hall at Lincoln Center. This was the first time I had attended an open rehearsal or heard the New York Philharmonic play live. Upon entering, it was interesting to note how relaxed the performers appeared, most likely because it was only a rehearsal and not the real show. As everyone was taking their seats, the performers would come and go as they pleased until the conductor came out and the rehearsal was ready to begin.
The conductor, Riccardo Muti, was rather entertaining during the rehearsal. He would consistently turn to face the audience and talk to us about certain things. It was somewhat difficult to hear everything he was saying, given our seats were closer to the back, but some of the things that I was able to make out were interesting. I felt like this was a good way to keep the rehearsal relaxed, but in a good way. Of course Muti would not want his performers to feel that they do not have to work hard at all, but a little break in between would help calm down any of the performers if they did not play their part right. Muti’s drive for perfection was evident when he would stop the performance, say something to the performers, and the piece would be replayed. Clearly, Muti was not impressed with that portion of the concert, and wanted it to be perfected.
The performers played their pieces very well, which is why they are a part of the Philharmonic. I was amazed at how wonderful the music sounded, wondering how they managed to make all the various instruments work in harmony. In addition, it was interesting to see how all the performers knew exactly when to enter in the piece. Only many years of experience would allow someone to be able to perform that well.
Overall, the Open Rehearsal was a great experience. The music that was performed sounded magnificent, and considering it was a rehearsal, the final concert would most likely have been something to remember. The conductor included the audience in the rehearsal, which made the audience feel better because they were no longer idle spectators. Although this was my first open rehearsal and viewing of the New York Philharmonic, it was certainly something to remember.