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Musicians that smoke


Agatha
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Aw, Aggie, we know what ya meant. We were just spoofing a little.

It's pretty well know that popular musicians (rock & jazz artists especially) seem to be highly susceptable to addictive things, cigarettes probably being the most innocuous. I've always thought of classical musicians as being much more self disciplined and less likely to acquire those kinds of habits, but there sure are exceptions. Jascha Heifetz seemed to always have a cigarette in his hand when he wasn't playing, and I've seen movies of Enrico Caruso smoking. Can you believe that? You'd think with his voice being so important he'd have more sense. But I guess "talent" doesn't necessarily equal "smart."

I Don't know if Gil does or not.

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Back then, people didn't know much about tobacco related problems. I know that Pablo Casals smoked cigar. His Bach recording released by EMI has the famous picture. He was veiled by cigar smoke and playing cello. It looked almost mysterious. Back when Heifetz was really active, just about everyone smoked. It was more or less a fashionable thing to do. As a matter of fact, Mike Wallace was smoking and interviewing Frank Lloyd Wright at the same time.

[This message has been edited by illuminatus (edited 11-19-2000).]

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I was horrified to find that a great number of the faculty at the National Youth Orchestra smoked (cigarettes). Many of the players did as well. I can half understand that... stupid stressed young people and all that... but the teachers? It seems a shame that such good musicians have major health problems like that.

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I just saw a post on cello chat the other day talking about once how Janos Starker was at a concert venue, smoking in his dressing room.... One of the venue workers came in and repromanded him for smoking, so Starker left.

Sounds like a pretty serious smoker to me. smile.gif At my orchestras, I can always tell when a smoker walks in - you can smell them. There don't seem to be very many, though.

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quote:

Originally posted by illuminatus:

Back when Heifetz was really active, just about everyone smoked. It was more or less a fashionable thing to do.

My first Milstein CD - Nathan Milstein-Artur Balsam, the 1953 Library of Congress Recital, Beethoven-Bach-Brahms - has Milstein on the cover with cigarette dangled from his mouth. I hesitated for a minute before making the purchase because of it. But just like illuminatus said, it was fashionable thing back then.

I guess only in the USA that we feel so strongly about smoking...

-- Chris

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Milstein came to Seattle in the early 1950s

He played the Tchaikovsky concerto with the Seattle Symphony. He was quite obviously a chain smoker. He lit the new one with the old. During rehearsal he played the entire 2nd movement with a cigarette in his mouth. At the transition to the 3rd movement, the orchestra really came in with a "bang". Milstein jumped and the ash fell off his cigarette. We in the orchestra about broke up with laughter. In fact things ground to a halt. Milstein was even laughing. During the actual performance when we came to that transition, everyone in the orchestra and Milstein had a huge grin on their face. At his entrance to the 3rd movement, he actually jumped off the floor and came in with a "bang". I don't know what the audience thought, but the orchestra was all smiles, and we had a view into the Milstein humor.

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Mr. Wallack--my once and former teacher--said Milstein was often seen with a cigarette in a cigarette holder, but that he, like Bill Clinton in a different scenario, never inhaled.

Most musicians and music teachers I know do not smoke. I must confess that I've probably smoked lightly about 10 of my 51 years and certainly no longer. When I did, I loved it--but it was only a few cigarettes a day....a kind of luxury. I developed acute bronchial asthma and I will be on a nebulizer for the rest of my life. I am a testament to the ills of smoking even very, very lightly.

Curiously, I hate the smell of smoke.

Ah, me. What I'd change in my past if I could!!

Best regards,

Theresa

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