I got fired as an usher by Carnegie Hall

A fresh-baked memoir from composer Michael Robinson:

…. My position was lost, after several warnings for wearing white socks, when my girlfriend at the time secured front row center seats for the visiting Los Angeles Philharmonic with Carlo Maria Giulini at the very famed hall where I was employed. This was an opportunity not to be missed, believing it would be OK to take a night off from ushering, but the manager unfortunately spotted me in the lobby prior to the concert, and I was immediately sacked….

Read on here.


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  • I’d fire any man in my employ if I saw him in white socks anywhere except on a tennis court.

    Carnegie Hall’s loss would appear to be computer music’s gain. No idea if he’s any good — his website is almost wilfully opaque.

  • David Lewin (pictured in the article) had a great sense of humor. He sometimes came to Stony Brook wearing mechanic’s overalls with his name embroidered on the left side. I asked him about this. He told me he was once asked to give a written recommendation for student going on to graduate school. Question: “If accepted, how would you describe the student’s overall promise?” He answered: “If accepted, the student has promised to give me his overalls.” The grateful student bought the garment, had Lewin’s name embroidered (“Dave”) and gave it to him as a gift!

  • “Prior to studying with Leonard Altman … he suggested that I take an usher job at Carnegie Hall where he was on the Board of Trustees”

    So you need to personally know a member of the Board, and have his recommendation, just to be an usher at Carnegie Hall?

    Well that totally puts “how do you get to Carnegie Hall?” in a whole new perspective. Apparently, it’s “practice, practice, practice, and know a trustee”

    Nepotism in the music industry runs deep indeed.

  • Very nice to see David Lewin remembered in the article. His nonchalant brilliance was astounding, one can never forget it, as well as his sincere kindness and gentle simplicity. A wonderful man.

  • Weird idea — don’t wear white socks after the first warning? Orchestra musicians must adhere to a dress code, but apparently ushers rank above them.

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