Subbing in The Chicago Symphony

By:
Emil Khudyev
May 18, 2015

On Friday, April 10, I received a call from the personal manager of Chicago Symphony Orchestra (CSO) who asked me if I could sub for John Yeh, their assistant principal/E-flat clarinetist, for the concert on April 21. I was able to attend one rehearsal session before the performance at the Chicago Symphony Center. The concert consisted of Shostakovich Symphony No. 8 and Rachmaninov Piano Concerto No. 1.

As soon as I sat in my seat for the rehearsal, I saw the original E-flat clarinet part of the Shostakovich from Georg Solti on my stand. This really inspired me because I grew up listening to him conduct the CSO. When we began playing, I was blown away by the wind and brass sections, especially the principal clarinetist Stephen Williamson. Performing with that group of musicians, every note, every phrase, everything had meaning.  Every single person cares about every single note to make beautiful music together. I think this is what makes musicians and audiences appreciate what we do.

At the performance, I was happy to see my wife in the audience. Also, I was pleasantly surprised to see Tophir Kolby, one of our current trombone students at Interlochen Arts Academy, who congratulated me after the concert. He had a college audition and his flight back to Traverse City got canceled, so he came to the concert. You never know who is in the audience!

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