Friday, April 4, 2008

Fabian Sevitsky and Jesus Maria Sanroma ...WHO??

Few today know of the names in my title above; however, these two musicians were very well known, especially during the mid-20th century. The incidents you are about to read were related to me by two of my teachers in my student years, both of whom performed with them.
Fabian Sevitsky was a conductor, known chiefly as the director of the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra, but sought after for appearances with many of the major orchestras.
He was also known as somewhat of a martinet and egoist, who, according to my teacher who performed under him incurred wrath from time to time from various orchestra members.
On one occasion, after a particularly heated exchange with the tuba player in a rehearsal, revenge was put into a reality by that tuba player, who after the rehearsal purchased a fish from a fish market nearby, returned to the hall, placed the fish into the bell area of his tuba, left it on a chair and took leave, knowing that he would not need to return the following day to participate in any rehearsal. One can only imagine the "atmosphere" engendered by this act when on the following day, the members of the orchestra returned for rehearsal, along with the vaunted conductor.
Jesus Maria Sanroma was Puerto Rico's most illustrious contribution in pianism to the world of music. He, in fact, was the staff pianist for the Boston Symphony Orchestra for quite some time; however, his fame developed primarily from his association with Arthur Fiedler and the Boston Pops, and several recordings were made during that period.
Luminaries such as Artur Rubinstein spoke glowingly of Sanroma, and he became a successful recording artist.
Sanroma (who was lovingly called 'choo-choo' by his closest friends) was as well possessed of a strong sense of humor; for example, on a very warm summer day in a small performing hall in Boston, Sanroma came out on stage dragging a floor fan after him, placed the fan next to his stool, turned it on full, and began to play. For a short period of time he performed music that was totally obliterated by the roar of the fan. There MUST have been confusion in the audience; but then he stopped, turned the fan off with a laugh, and proceeded to do his recital. According to my teacher, who was at this event, the audience embraced Sanroma's confrontation with the fan, and all had a good hearty laugh.
I think I should have liked to know these two artists - both, seemingly, were assiduously strong individuals.

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