Percussion fun backstage! – Blog Host Jonathan

We’re doing the full version of Stravinsky’s Firebird this weekend and one of the joys of hearing (and seeing) the full ballet score is the huge array of instruments employed.
The stage is packed – especially with percussion instruments.  In fact, there’s one instrument that can’t even fit on the stage:

Percussionist, Chris Allen, has to leave the stage during the middle of the piece and… wait for it… climb a ladder in order to reach the top of the 9ft+ chimes.

Off-stage instruments aren’t that uncommon in symphonic repertoire, but I’m pretty sure I’ve ever seen “stage-hand’s ladder'” marked in a score before.

Our brave percussionist climbs to the top and then uses the conductor-cam (click to enlarge image) to follow Maestro Noseda’s directions and play at exactly the right moment.

All in a day’s work for a PSO percussionist, and not without a little back-stage humor (and the mandatory pre-rehearsal coffee) 🙂

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