Who’s New York’s oboe on Jaap’s opening night?

We hear that Sherry Sylar, associate principal oboe, has been rostered for the big occasion in the enforced absence of the Philharmonic’s #1 oboe, Liang Wang.

There has been no further disclosure on the firing of two musicians, except a clarification that it relates to a number of incidents over a considerable period.

The timing of the dismissals could hardly have been worse – on the eve of the inaugural concert of a new music director, Jaap Van Zweden – and the Philharmonic as a group are getting on with their business in a slightly artificial state of suspended animation.

 

 

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  • She is a very talented veteran of the orchestra who often has had to act as principal oboe in the absence of that player – going back to the time of Mr. Wang’s predecessor, Joseph Robinson. According to the orchestra’s website, she joined the orchestra in 1984.

  • “The timing of the dismissals could hardly have been worse – on the eve of the inaugural concert”

    I would phrase it differently: “The timing of the dismissals could hardly have been worse — coming so tardily after so many years and so many incidents.”

    As Riccardo Muti has said many times in his own experience at Chicago seeing 2 principal oboes leave, a principal flute leave, a principal trumpet leave: “no one is irreplaceable in an orchestra.” Ms Sylar is a fine oboist and will execute her functions admirably.

    • For the new conductor, the replacement of one excellent player by another excellent player can hardly be considered a disturbing thought.

      Van Zweden has been through wilder ripples. On the day of the concert performance of a Tristan in the Amsterdam Concertgebouw, Tristan lost his voice and another one was found on such short notice that there was no time at all for any rehearsel – he had to jump into the Wagnerian waters just like that. But he did an excellent job and the conductor steered the ship with a steadfast hand in a beautiful and inspired performance.

      It would be more alarming if, at such concert, the conductor would be missing.

  • So…the news is that things are perfectly as one would expect, with the associate taking over the principal chair in the absence of a principal?

    • You know, some pretty fine orchestras have played in some pretty crappy halls as their home, ones much crappier than Philharmonic Hall, New York — or whatever it’s currently called.

      • Name one. It’s a barn, albeit a much better barn than before as a result of some tinkering. Any orchestral tutti above FF and it sounds like you’re in a steel works, unless you’re upstairs at the very back. Those seats being cheapest are at a premium because there aren’t many, and you need good eyesight if you want to see anything going on in front of you.

  • Not that Sherry Sylar doesn’t merit a little attention, but what’s the news here? When an orchestra is without a principal player for whatever reason, the assistant/associate principal usually steps in. Unless they engage a guest principal, at least for a week here or there. Happens all the time. Sometimes an orchestra can go years with that arrangement while they make up their mind on hiring a new principal. This one might go on a while, too.

  • I made a special trip to NY to hear her; she sounded spectacular tonight! The orchestra was terrific and we got Valkyries for an encore!

    • That makes yours the first review in print!

      The NYT doesn’t have its review out yet. Which I don’t understand, it used to be that the music critic rushed out his review by midnight just in time when the presses start to run.

      Today, I mean, they can’t email it and put it on the web at 2 am? Spending too much time at the post-concert party and not enough time writing?

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