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How NOT to behave as a soloist


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Does anyone know the music well enough to be able to tell whether the orchestra did indeed skip several bars as some of the commentators on You-Tube have suggested? Supposing that the orchestra did skip several pages of music? What would be the proper behavior for a soloist in such a situation? On the other hand, how can an entire orchestra smoothly jump ahead and still play together? Unless there is something we don't know - like some argument behind the scenes and agreement ahead of time that these bars should be skipped, to which the soloist didn't agree. Who made the mistake?

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honestly, i don´t know the piece.

but i can not imagine an orchestra including its conductor at once skip 48 bars when everyone has the score in front of them. it´s not on. but this whole performance (soloist & conductor/ orchestra) is on such a poor level you might want to believe anything is possible.

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ha... very amusing. Not suprised. She's probably the most obnoxious person I've seen and I've seen a few masterclasses...

Saw her completely tear apart several cellists at a masterclass in the summer...

Saw her in the NAC orchestra last week decked out in a black leather contraption that looked like it was right out of Playboy. Zukerman seemed to be enjoying himself.

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Hmmmm... I wasn't at the concert, and I don't know what the true situation was... I can say I'd hate to have a video of one of my less dignified public moments being reviewed by so many.

It's interesting to me that so many comments on the various interested sites have to do with how she looks, how young she is compared to Pinchas, and her dress... this type of open denigration of Ms. Forsyth as a person and criticism of her as an artist seems in (significant) part due to the fact that she's married to Pinchas. I bet that's a hard one to deal with on a daily basis. I wonder how many talk right past her, around her, or try to use her to get to Mr. Zukerman's attention? Seems to me she won the NAC job on her own merit, correct?

I'm glad that the distasteful comments here don't go as far as they do on the youtube site. In my opinion, the really base comments there exhibit a behavior I find more concerning than the behavior on the video. At least there seems a bit more class here...

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On violinist.com I've been pretty vocal on the whole Zukerman issue. Most people couldn't pick him out of a crowd yet everyone loves to call him all sorts of names, never having met him. Personally I try not to be too harsh about someone unless I've spoken with them, and often the stories about him (which I know for a fact), are exaggerated and taken out of context for sensationalism. I am not defending the type of person he is, but I don't see how whatever shortcommings he has as a person should be passed on to Ms. Forsyth. As for my comments in regards to her, I totally stand by what I said. I've seen soloists screw up before, and I've seen orchestras play poorly. This summer a very talented violinist was knocked out of the Montreal International Violin Competition largely because of fairly shoddy conducting during the Sibelius. She didn't huff and puff. No matter whose fault it is, you just can't shake your head like that when they're playing, and treat the conductor like a child. The comments on YouTube are quite boorish but that's fairly consistent with the spirit of that website. In the end, I don't care who she is married to and how good of a cellist she is, her behaviour was totally reprehensible and she should be totally embarrassed about that.

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Jeffrey, a quick reply on my part is that I actually don't have an issue with her looks, actually the opposite, I think she looks extraordinarily attractractive - hence the tongue in cheek comment about her dress. Nor do I have an issue with her being married to Zuckerman nor any age difference, their private lives are none of my business. However, I still think her spoilt brat act is an extremely poor trait for any soloist to exhibit and deserves the approbation ladelled on her.

Now, having said that, I will admit one pre-existing bias and that is the pathetic behaviour by both Ms Forsyth and her husband towards the NACO and the concert-goers of Ottawa last year. I would note that Ms Forsyth's soloist, ummm, effervesence, featured in the clip took place when she was too "ill" to perform with the NACO...

I think some of the points you made about the criticism of her were valid, but I'm afraid we must agree to have differing opinions on how justified criticism of her artistic behaviour is.


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Originally posted by:

I think some of the points you made about the criticism of her were valid, but I'm afraid we must agree to have differing opinions on how justified criticism of her artistic behaviour is.


I'm not sure we do disagree... I wrote my comments in a context. I did not suggest "everyone was wrong".

What I said was:

"I wasn't at the concert, and I don't know what the true situation was... "

And then I said:

"It's interesting to me that so many comments on the various interested sites have to do with how she looks, how young she is compared to Pinchas, and her dress... this type of open denigration of Ms. Forsyth as a person and criticism of her as an artist seems in (significant) part due to the fact that she's married to Pinchas."

Maybe it would have been clearer to say: "this type of denegration of Ms. Forsyth as a person USED AS criticism of her as an artist..."

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Caught On Tape - Amanda Forsyth Hits A Sour Note

Forsyth video yanked from YouTube


For a few days at least, National Arts Centre Orchestra principal cellist Amanda Forsyth was a hit with visitors to the popular website YouTube.com, thanks to a video of a Chicago performance that was viewed by more than 4,000 people before it was removed from the site late this week "for copyright reasons."

The five-minute clip showed a musical mixup between Forsyth and the Highland Park Strings, a community orchestra. The concert, from Feb. 5, was recorded for a cable television channel. The clip showed Forsyth as soloist in Elgar's Cello Concerto in E minor with the orchestra and conductor Francis Akos, former assistant concertmaster with the Chicago Symphony.

At some point, Forsyth and the orchestra were no longer together, and the music came to a stop. Professional orchestra musicians who watched the clip say Forsyth, who was playing the piece from memory, skipped ahead several bars in the music.

Veteran musicians say this kind of thing can happen in live performances, and soloists try to get things back on track as quickly as possible, jumping back in at an appropriate moment. What left some professional musicians unimpressed was the behaviour of Forsyth, who is married to NACO director Pinchas Zukerman.

After the performance came to a halt, Forsyth was seen in the clip leaving her chair to talk to the conductor. After flipping through the pages of the score with the maestro, Forsyth returned to her seat. As the piece resumed, she rolled her eyes and looked unhappy as she played in what some musicians describe as an overly aggressive style.

A discussion thread at YouTube about the video was also removed late Thursday or early yesterday, but chats among classical music fans about the incident are still up on at least two other websites (www.violinist.com/discussion/response.cfm?ID=9270), and (p078.ezboard.com/fcellofuncellochat.showMessage?topicID=15681.to pic). The majority opinion seems to be that regardless of whose fault it was, her behaviour was uncalled for.

Stephanie Ettelson, a spokeswoman for the Highland Park Strings, said yesterday she didn't know how the clip ended up on YouTube, and she said no one from the orchestra would comment. Forsyth was in Seattle yesterday for a performance by Zukerman, and could not be reached for comment. Efforts to get comment from YouTube were also unsuccessful.

Before it was removed, the clip made the rounds of Ottawa's music community. When contacted by the Citizen, Walter Prystawski, who retired as NACO concertmaster last June after 37 years with the NACO, said he had seen the clip and was disappointed.

"Amanda made a painful and embarrassing mistake in the performance. Knowing her age and experience, I would have hoped for a more graceful and professional recovery," he said yesterday.

Prystawski said he could recall no guest soloist with the NACO ever behaving in the same way after a mixup. While mistakes can happen, he said, "it's very laid back. Nobody says anything. You decide where you're going to pick it up. A professional player acts as if nothing has happened. The more you draw attention to something, the worse the impression that's left with the audience."

The concert in Chicago happened while Forsyth was on paid sick leave from NACO. Forsyth missed most of last season's NACO concerts, and was away from the NAC while Zukerman was on his controversial five-month sabbatical. Forsyth has returned to the orchestra this season.

The NAC has hired professional facilitators to improve a strained relationship between Zukerman and many orchestra musicians.

In recent years, Forsyth has performed more often as a soloist with the NACO than any other principal player in the orchestra. She is scheduled to perform Shostakovich's Cello Concerto No. 1 Feb. 8 and 9, with Zukerman conducting.

While on sick leave last season, Forsyth performed several other concerts, including a chamber music tour with Zukerman and a concerto appearance with the Saskatoon Symphony. Christopher Deacon, the orchestra's managing director, said last season that musicians who are on sick leave are sometimes permitted to perform elsewhere, depending on circumstances.

Forsyth and Zukerman will be performing in Bulgaria next week and will miss two major Hungarian-themed concerts by NACO on Wednesday and Thursday.

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I attended Koopman's performance with CSO on 15th. Near the end of Mozart's first movement, there was an unexpected stop. The guest conductor, Mr. Koopman, looked at the bass saying something like, "Are you supposed to be playing next?" The bass shook his head. Then Koopman looked and asked one section after another. Eventually, the drum/wind section "reluctantly" started again. The audience was very much amused. I am sure it was planned, and it was a lot of fun. Great performance!

Back to the topic, Ms. Forsyth could have pulled off such stunt and made it as if it were planned. However, in light of Daisy's and other comments, I guess it is not Forsyth's inclination to transform a mistake into a good laugh for the audience. What a pity! Hearty laughter would have added so much liveliness to the lusterless performance.

By the way, I like the way CSO asks audience to turn off their cells phones: Please take a look at tonight's program to see whether the tune on your cell phone is the same as....

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