Due to my recent arrival on staff, I hadn’t had the opportunity to get
to know Martin Smith. However, I thought it would be important to note
from a staff perspective the loss that is being felt around the PSO
after his passing. This loss has very much caused me in the past day
or so to think about the personal relationship in the orchestra world
between management/staff and the orchestra.
In the end, our hope as PSO staff members is to support the
musicians on stage in a way that allows them to play music to the very
best of their abilities while feeding our larger community with the
very necessary gift of music. We want our orchestra members to have
full houses to play to, we want them to have rewarding interactions
with the community and to feel supported and stimulated in their own
professional development, we want them to be placed in situations where
both their own soul and the souls of those with whom they are
interacting are "fed" in a positive way. We feel pride when we hear
one of our musicians nail a passage that presents a particular
challenge, and we worry about them when we hear that an injury has been
In short, as a staff member, you come to care for the orchestra you
hope to serve in your daily work quickly and deeply. It’s a very
unique and special relationship. It’s also a reason I love coming to
work each day.
When news about Martin came to the PSO staff, we felt deep sadness
for his family. We also felt another very deep sadness for the PSO
musicians who we knew would be feeling his loss as a person and as a
musician in a very constant way.
The PSO musicians are asked to represent the orchestra not only
through their artistry on stage, but through their interaction with the
community and through other endeavors. From what I have heard from
other staff members, Martin did a great job of doing those things- even
working with our IT department on special projects.
I think I speak for the PSO staff when I say that our thoughts and
prayers are with Martin’s family, including the family he has onstage-
and especially, the one that surrounded him in the horn section.