A Note from the Author
As a freelance musician in Los Angeles, I drive all over
town to play many different kinds of live music and
recorded music in all sorts of places. Much of the music I
play is classical (I’m the principal bassoonist for L.A. Opera),
but I have also played movie soundtracks, jazz tunes, folk
songs, various kinds of rock and pop, joke music, and
even traditional West African drumming. I also compose music, teach music,
and write about it. Whenever I can, I talk to audiences
about the music they will hear.
If asked about my favorite music, I’d have to say “live
music.” No matter what the style, I love seeing listeners
and performers get together.
Over the years I have noticed that many otherwise stout-hearted music lovers are
frightened of classical concerts. I don’t blame them! Concerts, like other activities, can be
baffling if you don’t know what’s going on. (Sports can be just as baffling. I’m still trying
to figure out how, in the middle of a baseball game, when everybody is talking and eating
hot dogs, and nobody is watching the game, all of a sudden everybody—except me—
knows to leap to their feet and pay attention.)
This little book is meant to make concert-going less baffling. Let me know if it helps!
You can contact me through my web site, www.johnsteinmetz.org.
About the Illustrator
John Minnion has been a concertgoer since, as a student in the late Seventies, he discovered the symphonies of Gustav Mahler at London’s Royal Festival Hall. From that moment he has believed music to be the most beautiful thing in life, even more beautiful than cricket, and spends many hours listening to it. He even produces concerts himself, for the all-female early music group Fifth Element. Having teenage sons to support, he is also a freelance illustrator who has worked for many magazines and newspapers. He has caricatured over 400 composers, many of them on commission from Naxos.
Many thanks to Klaus Heymann, who had the original idea to provide a pamphlet for new concertgoers. Thanks to John Minnion for drawings with attitude. Thanks to Naxos of America for running with Klaus’s idea, to Matthew Whittier and Collin Rae for producing this new edition, and to all the organizations who have made use of the booklet. I am grateful to the many musicians and listeners who have shared their questions and answers about concerts over the years.
And thanks to you for reading this far (even if you opened to this part first).