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(Note: Now that the tour has reached the halfway point, we thought we'd ask LA Phil Orchestra Personnel Manager Jeffrey Neville to weigh in with a "behind-the-scenes" view of the tour so far.)
It’s 11:30am on Wednesday morning, Gustavo’s birthday, Our performance of Mahler’s Symphony No. 9 at the Philharmonie in Cologne is just hours away. One of the largest repertoire pieces as far as personnel goes - 106 players strong. "All hands on deck," as they say. My phone rings and a voice on the other end says, “I’ve been up all night, I’m sick and I don’t think I will be able to play tonight.”
This is what I love about my position - job security! I’ve been well versed in all types of maladies and remedies, and believe me when I say I’ve heard it all. Many years ago, when my son was 5, the phone rang and as you know, young kids run for the phone. The next thing I hear is, “Hey Dad, it’s that musician who always calls in sick - they’re sick again”.
Well, my first response today was “Have you called the doctor?” The Philharmonic always travels with a physician and on this tour, Dr. Andrew Wachtel is traveling with us. Andy has been with us on many tours and he has become my best friend and musician-saver. Andy went into action and I’m very happy to report that all musicians were on stage for the evening's performance. So, while the audience is applauding the orchestra and Gustavo tonight, I’m backstage applauding Andy! Bravo!!