Reflections on the Symphony


by Jim Self

Today I just finished a week of playing Strauss’ Ein Heldenleben. It was the opening week of the Pacific Symphony’s 45th season. The conductor was Carl St. Clair and we did four performances. The 48 minute work, conducted from memory by Carl, has become a staple and signature piece of orchestra’s repertoire. In 2008 the orchestra did its 1st European Tour and we played it in 9 cities including Cologne, Munich and Vienna. We were all astounded by the standing ovations and great reviews we got everywhere. It’s a tough job for a young American orchestra to get those kudos in Germany and Austria playing THEIR masterpieces—but we did.

All this week the emotions of Ein Heldenleben had me waxing nostalgically about my inner feelings of being a symphony musician and deci...

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