restricted access 10. In Good Company
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280 In Good Company Chapter 10 JOE GINGOLD, IT TURNED OUT, WAS RIGHT. I needed to be teaching. Working with young people is a salve for some of the grief that awaits the long-lived. We lose people. Joe Gingold died in 1995. He had left the Cleveland Orchestra the year after I did. He loved teaching and did not love Szell, so he took a position at the Indiana University School of Music. After the funeral, his children gave me two of Joe’s violin bows. Then they handed me a photo. Across a corner was written, “To Joe Gingold,” and it was signed by David Arben. “Dad meant to give this picture to the soloist,” Joe’s son said, pointing to the violinist standing next to Joe. David Arben, of course, after playing the Mendelssohn Violin Concerto, Robert Shaw conducting. Joe knew what the picture would mean to David, who had survived the concentration camps by virtue of his violin playing and lived by it ever since. “Do you think you could get the picture to him, Anshel?” “Sure,” I told Joe’s son. “I’ll find out where he is now.” Arben had stayed with the Philadelphia Orchestra, moving forward from the fifth stand until he was assistant concertmaster. He had recently retired. I hoped I would get around to it quickly, but I didn’t. In Good Company ■ 281 An event in the early 1980s still knocks around in my head like an annoying ghost, so I will backtrack further to air it, and maybe then it will go quiet. I got a phone call one day. It was Stephen Sell, executive director of the Philadelphia Orchestra. “A new hotel is opening across the street from the Academy of Music.” He referred to the Hershey Hotel. “We’re planning the dedication ceremony for their Eugene Ormandy Ballroom.” “I’m happy to hear it. But—excuse me—why are you calling?” “To invite you, of course. And Mrs. Brusilow.” “Thank you. I—” My feelings were all jumbled. I still loved Ormandy—a part of me could never let go of the father-son relationship we had. The trouble was, the warm and cold of my concertmaster years seemed to have frozen to ice when I turned maestro. I had seen only the spiteful Mr. Hyde version of Ormandy since then. However, now I was a professor and no threat to him, so maybe a melting was in progress. “Well,” I said to Mr. Sell, “I just would like to make sure Mr. Ormandy really meant for me to be on the guest list. Are you certain of that?” “Yes. Absolutely.” A little bit of elation leaked in. I told him I’d check our schedule and call back. Oh, what a pained look Marilyn gave me. “Please, Anshel. Put it out of your mind.” A few days later, an engraved invitation arrived in the mail. Marilyn was convinced it was a mistake or—worse—a prank. “I’ll go with you if you want to be there,” she said. When I called to R.S.V.P ., Mr. Sell was pleased and said he would make the arrangements for our room at the Hershey Hotel. So we flew out to Philly and checked in. Having some free time, we took the elevator down to the lobby to check out the ballroom. As soon as we turned the corner and entered the room, a mural of the orchestra faced us, and it was full of all my old friends—there 282 ■ Shoot the Conductor sat my assistant concertmaster Dave Madison; Veda Reynolds of the candy wrappers; David Arben in the back of the violins, Herbie Pierson with no visible tear in his pants; John de Lancie—and here came the A of his oboe in my head; Sammy Mayes, who shared my Ginastera concerto secret. For some reason, the painter had used a photograph of the orchestra that must have been from the mid-1960s. Only one head was an unrecognizable blur. Mine, right in front. My left foot was sticking out as usual, though. No one familiar with the orchestra would fail to recognize that. It struck us funny and we stood there laughing. “Oh, Mar, I see we shouldn’t have come,” I said. “But here we are, and we’ll go to the dinner and see what happens.” In the lobby, we felt at sea. The hors d’oeuvres were coming out, and the room...


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Subject Headings

  • Brusilow, Anshel.
  • Conductors (Music) -- United States -- Biography.
  • Concertmasters -- United States -- Biography.
  • Music teachers -- United States -- Biography.
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