A reminder that if you don’t yet have our free guide to evaluating and upgrading your violin, make sure to click this link to download it. Even if you’re not in the market, you never know when you’ll be called upon to help a friend pick a new instrument…so be prepared!
For the first time, we’ve got a special guest here on Stand Partners for Life. Akiko is still alive and well, but her voice needed a break after some extra parenting this week! So I’m thrilled to have our great friend and former colleague Brant Taylor here with me.
Brant is a cellist in the Chicago Symphony, and before that he was (very briefly) a member of the Saint Louis Symphony and the New World Symphony. You’ll hear why those stays were brief here in the episode!
You’ll also hear why he decided to take a break from the CSO recently, or as it’s technically known, a sabbatical. The fact is that Brant was a professional quartet player before he ever played in a professional orchestra, so (like me and Akiko) the symphony has never defined his entire scope musically. That’s one of the things that gave us an instant connection when I joined the CSO back in 2002.
Over the years, Akiko and I, along with Brant and his partner, have traveled the world, with the symphony and without it. But since we’ve moved out to LA, our visits are far too infrequent, so I really enjoyed getting to sit down for an in-depth conversation with Brant. He’s a tremendous teacher as well, so we get into a variety of great topics this episode.
We start by talking about the intense bond that develops among the members of a string quartet. It’s often been compared to a marriage, and for good reason! That made Brant’s quartet’s decision to break up that much more painful, even if it was necessary.
Next Brant reveals why his quartet background put him in perfect position to win an orchestra audition.
How should you approach a new piece before getting together with your chamber group or orchestra to rehearse it for the first time? How much of yourself should you bring to the piece, and how do you learn what that means for you?
We talk about the New World Symphony, and how it helped Brant transition to a full-time professional orchestral career.
We also get into what a sabbatical is all about. For Brant, it was a magnification of all the musical activities he loves best, and it made his return to orchestra that much sweeter. But it also included some surprising pursuits, all of which eventually relate to his passion as a cellist and musician.
We close with some thoughts on how to accentuate the positive in what can be a demanding, and at times, demeaning job!