Shoot the Conductor Promo

shoottheconductor

Shoot the Conductor
by Anshel Brusilow & Robin Underdahl

Publisher: University of North Texas Press (June 15, 2015)
Hardcover: 336 pages

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Book Summary:

Anshel Brusilow started playing violin in 1933 at age five, in a Russian Jewish neighborhood of Philadelphia where practicing your instrument was as ordinary as hanging out the laundry. His playing wasn’t ordinary, though. At sixteen, he was soloing with the Philadelphia Orchestra. He was also studying conducting.

Brusilow’s tumultuous relationships with Pierre Monteux, George Szell, and Eugene Ormandy shaped his early career. Under Szell, Brusilow was associate concertmaster at the Cleveland Orchestra until Ormandy snatched him away to make him concertmaster in Philadelphia, where he remained from 1959 to 1966. But he was unsatisfied with the violin. Even as concertmaster of the Philadelphia Orchestra, he felt the violin didn’t give him enough of the music. He wanted to conduct. He formed chamber groups on the side; he conducted summer concerts of the Philadelphia Orchestra. The price was high: it ruined his father-son relationship with Ormandy. Brusilow turned in his violin bow for the baton and created his own Philadelphia Chamber Symphony. Next he took on the then-troubled Dallas Symphony Orchestra. Unhappy endings repeat themselves in his memoir—and yet humor dances constantly around the edges. Musicians need it.

Brusilow played with or conducted many top-tier classical musicians and has something to say about each one. He also made many recordings. Co-written with Robin Underdahl, his memoir is a fascinating view of American classical music as well as an inspiring story of a working-class immigrant child making good in a tough arena.

Book Excerpt:

WHERE TO BEGIN ABOUT THE Dallas Symphony Orchestra? Those three years, 1970–73, are a complicated story. In my life, I was fired only once. But the memory of it splinters into arrows coming from different directions at different times.

It was because of the pops concerts. Who did I think I was, bringing Sonny and Cher onto the same stage with the Dallas Symphony Orchestra?

No, it was because of the factions. Some board members didn’t like other board members. Some who particularly did like me died, or resigned, or were called aside by family matters.

Or was it the critic?

Oh, surely it all came down to money and attendance. Not enough Dallasites chose classical concerts over TV, and I did not change that.

All I can do is lay out what it looked like from the podium, from my office, and from inside my head. If it’s a mess, forgive me. Everyone in Dallas musical circles knows what happened, but no one seems to know why.

I will start with music. Music is not a mess. And it is the point.

The Cherubini Symphony, the lovely version edited by Arturo Toscanini, is what my Chamber Symphony of Philadelphia performed at North Texas State University, near Dallas. I didn’t know who was on the other side of the footlights, in that Texan audience, but one man was listening with both ears, and soon I was going to know him, for the rest of his life.

My Thoughts:

As a huge music fan I think this memoir sounds like an incredible read! Brusilow’s life story and his time conducting and being acquainted with so many talented individuals would be a neat story to unravel! And as a Texas resident myself, it would definitely be interesting to read more about his time with the Dallas Symphony! I look forward to read this in the future!

About the Authors:

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Anshel Brusilow started playing violin in 1933 at age five, in a Russian Jewish neighborhood of Philadelphia where practicing your instrument was as ordinary as hanging out the laundry. His playing wasn’t ordinary, though. At sixteen, he was soloing with the Philadelphia Orchestra. He was also studying conducting.

Brusilow’s tumultuous relationships with Pierre Monteux, George Szell, and Eugene Ormandy shaped his early career. Under Szell, Brusilow was associate concertmaster at the Cleveland Orchestra until Ormandy snatched him away to make him concertmaster in Philadelphia, where he remained from 1959 to 1966. But he was unsatisfied with the violin. Even as concertmaster of the Philadelphia Orchestra, he felt the violin didn’t give him enough of the music. He wanted to conduct. He formed chamber groups on the side; he conducted summer concerts of the Philadelphia Orchestra. The price was high: it ruined his father-son relationship with Ormandy. Brusilow turned in his violin bow for the baton and created his own Philadelphia Chamber Symphony. Next he took on the then-troubled Dallas Symphony Orchestra.

RobinUnderdahl

ROBIN UNDERDAHL holds an M.F.A. in creative writing from Columbia University and writes fiction, nonfiction, and memoir. She also lives in Dallas.

Book Promo Organized by:

UNTPress

 

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