Saturday, December 18, 2010

Article Repost, turn the page

Although violists and bassoon players have long argued over who gets the least respect in the music world, orchestras and ensembles of all kinds depend on the skill of a utility player so overlooked, he or she doesn’t even rate a mention in the program book. Today, a look behind the scenes – and behind the pianist – with LACO resident page turner, Daniel Stott (article by Michelle Weger).

How did you get into page turning? Was it a dream from childhood or something you just stumbled into?
Well, aside from the fantasy I always used to have about standing eerily close to Rick Wakeman while he was taking a blistering Moog solo, I didn’t give page turning much of a thought as a child. My first experience was in college (Isn’t everybody’s?!). A trombone player who was a friend asked if I would turn pages for his accompanist on his junior recital. I agreed to do it because I figured it beat the heck out of actually just sitting through the trombone recital. Just kidding. So, I apparently did a good job. The piano player played all the right notes at the right time and I didn’t get my head caught in the piano lid so it was a resounding success. After that, people seemed to figure out that I am either good enough at reading the music to be okay at it or I am too stupid to be scared of messing up. Now I get the best seat in the house for a concert.

Tell us about your particular technique.
Grab Page
Wait for nod
Turn page fast.
No, no I’m just joking. As you can probably imagine, turning pages is a fine art. The first aspect that requires special attention is the chair in which you sit. You are going to be getting up and out of it often so it better be sturdy and well oiled because nobody likes a squeaky page turner, NOBODY. Secondly, the only other thing to watch out for is that you need to grab the page with your left hand instead of your right. Now, I have never been a “Northpaw” (Is that even the opposite of a “southpaw?”) as a page turner and I have never heard horror stories about this either, but I bet that somebody somewhere has been knocked out by a flailing right elbow to the face. That would be embarrassing. Lastly, always remember to tell the performer “nice job” or “we’ll get’em next time.” They like to hear that and positive affirmation will give them renewed confidence to get back on that stage again.

Do you have a special regime you follow to stay in prime condition for the job?
Oh yes, I pray frequently.  

Etc, etc etc . . .

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