If you’re in the orchestra business or are a huge fan of classical music, you’ve probably seen these videos; they’ve been widely circulated now for nearly a week.
But if you haven’t I really think you should take a listen.
Social distancing and shelter in place directives have disrupted not only our work but our workplace relationships, and this disruption is magnified for members of a symphony orchestra. The close personal relationships that develop among musicians make most orchestras akin to a (slightly dysfunctional) family, with all the concomitant intimacy and conflict.
But those are the kinds of relationships required to build the trust that’s requisite of the soul-revealing nature of a musician’s work. Orchestral relationships feel almost familial, and so to suddenly be separated from one’s musicial siblings or cousins is a heavy psychic blow as well as an interruption of the cooperative work that is at the heart of an orchestra.
The musicians in these videos have created them for many reasons: a desire to do what feels as natural as breathing, to continue their craft, to perform, to serve their communities and the world through the healing properties of music, to create moments of beauty and joy in a time where both seem lacking. But at the heart of it is their connection not just to the music but to each other.
At its best, an orchestra is a distillation, in miniature, of an ideal society, in which individuals bring their unique talents and, together in harmony, create something that is so much more than the sum of its parts. It’s an expression of love that is at the same time personal, and communal, and universal. And it can create moments of true connection and joy.
Below is the orchestra who started it all, the Rotterdam Philharmonic, followed by my friends, the Toronto Symphony.
What experiences have you had in which a joint effort created something truly beautiful?
My task today: try something new on social media, a way to reach out to people in different ways. It took all morning but I made an Instagram story about fashion during quarantine (done!)