Miscellany and Trivia

Anecdotes about conductors – One

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A community orchestra was plagued by attendance problems. Several musicians were absent at each rehearsal. As a matter of fact, every player in the orchestra had missed several rehearsals, except for one very faithful oboe player. Finally, as the dress rehearsal drew to a close, the conductor took a moment to thank the oboist for her faithful attendance. She, of course, humbly responded “It's the least I could do, since I won't be at the performance.” 

Anecdotes about conductors – Two

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A musician calls the symphony office to talk to the conductor. “I’m sorry, he’s dead,” comes the reply. 

The musician calls back 25 times, always getting the same reply from the receptionist. At last she asks him why he keeps calling. “I just like to hear you say it.” 


Anecdotes about conductors – Three

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One day, a tuba player wanted to torture the drummer behind him, so he hid one of the drummer’s sticks. After looking around for a few minutes, with a frantic, wide-eyed expression, the drummer fell to his knees, flung his arms wide, and screamed to heaven: “Finally! The miracle, after all these years! I’m a Conductor!” 

Anecdotes about conductors – Four

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The orchestra conductor had become ill just 15 minutes before the concert was to begin. The manager asked around if anybody could conduct the evening's program and was delighted when the second cellist volunteered. The cellist knew all the works and didn't even need a score for Brahms’ third. At the end of the concert the orchestra was pleased, the manager was pleased, and they ended up asking the cellist to conduct for the next three weeks while the regular maestro recuperated from an emergency appendectomy. The three weeks went by quickly and soon the maestro was back on the podium. When the second cellist took his customary seat beside the violas, Sam, the principal violist, leaned over to him and asked, “Where the hell have you been for the last three weeks?”


Anecdotes about conductors – Five

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The world's worst conductor was conducting a rehearsal. Halfway through he was directing with wild abandon when his baton flew out of his hand and embedded itself in the eye of a hapless flute player instantly killing her. The police arrived shortly after and ruled the death an accident. 

The following week, he lost control of his baton again; it skewered the principal oboist this time, immediately killing him. The police arrived and after consideration ruled the case an accident. 

The following week at rehearsal the conductor once again was lost in the music when surpise, surprise out of his hand flew the baton this time hitting the third trumpet player, killing him stone dead. The police would not believe that the third death was an accident, and they arrested him. 

The conductor was tried and sentenced to death in the electric chair.

After strapping him in the executioner threw the switch, but nothing happened. Again, he threw the switch and nothing happened. The warden was frustrated by this time and demanded that the executioner explain what the problem was. 

To which he shrugged and said... "Well, everyone knows he's a bad conductor"

Anecdotes about authors – One

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George Bernhard Shaw

The celebrated dancer Isadora Duncan once wrote to George Bernard Shaw declaring that, given the principles of eugenics, they should have a child together.
“Think of it!” she enthused. “With my body and your brains, what a wonder it would be.”
“Yes,” Shaw replied. “But what if it had my body and your brains?”

Anecdotes about authors – Two

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Isaac Asimov 

Once an editor rejected a story of Isaac Asimov and called it “meretricious.” The word is from the Latin meretrix, meaning “prostitute,” so that the implication was that Asimov was prostituting his talent and was writing a bad story that would get by on his name alone because he was too lazy to write a good one. (Later the story was sold elsewhere and received considerable acclaim.) Swallowing his annoyance, Asimov said mildly, “What was that word you used?” Obviously proud at knowing a word he felt Asimov didn’t know, the editor enunciated carefully, “Meretricious!” Whereupon Asimov replied, “And a Happy New Year to you.” 

Anecdotes about authors – Three

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J. K. Rowling

A lot of writers choose to represent themselves with initials instead of given names. E.E. Cummings. T.S. Eliot. J.K. Rowling. In the case of the Potter scribe, however, the “K” doesn’t really stand for anything. Joanna Rowling has no middle name, but her publisher thought Harry Potter would sell better if she disguised her gender. Thus, the mysterious “K” was born, which Rowling attributes to “Kathleen,” her grandmother.

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