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John Sant'Ambrogio
The Day I Almost Destroyed the Boston Symphony and Other Stories

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263 words


Over 50 years and 10,000 concerts worth of storytelling at its best

John Sant'Ambrogio played with the Boston Symphony for 9 years, was Principal Cellist with the Casals Festival Orchestra for 2 years, and Principal cellist with the Saint Louis Symphony Orchestra for 37 years. A natural storyteller, he relates the life and sometime hilarious times he's experienced behind the scenes spanning over 50 years and 10,000 concerts.

Included are dozens of stories that are dramatic, poignant, funny, and serious: his fateful day with BSO when it almost ground to a halt; the nights he slept with rattlesnakes in the Army; the day his career started while painting a barn. We duck as he is attacked with a bow during a rehearsal on stage; we watch intently as the conductor's toupee takes flight on a high note. We are privy to the tyrant conductors and the caring conductors, the inspiring times in a symphony orchestra and the bittersweet times, the professional injuries and the healings. And finally, we glimpse the possible future of live symphonic music in the concert halls of the United States.

"The Day I Almost Destroyed the Boston Symphony and Other Stories" is a veritable who's who of the music world. The stories tell about the times the author spent with Charles Münch, Pablo Casals, Yo Yo Ma, Leonard Slatkin, Itzhak Perlman, Erich Leinsdorf, David Robertson, and dozens of other musicians and conductors. Through all this, the music that we "hear" is divine and inspiring-in spite of the rain, sleet, snow, strikes, and emergencies we encounter along the way.