As far as photo assignments goes, this one is perhaps the most memorable I have ever done.
The Malaysian Philharmonic Orchestra (MPO) was rehearsing what would be one of their most breathtaking performance in the 2008/2009 Season- Symphony No. 6 in A minor (“Tragic”) by Gustav Mahler. This is a breathtaking piece and I was commissioned to capture the moments from both the rehearsals as well as the actual performance. As I was quietly listening and taking pictures (from afar) to it I had the idea to ask the MPO Music Director and Conductor, Maestro Claus Peter Flor, for permission to sit within the Orchestra while they were rehearsing it. Permission was granted and I found myself sitting about 1 meter away from the Conductor’s podium wedged between a cello on my left, another cello behind me and a voila on my right.
I knew that once the rehearsals commenced I cannot move in case I disrupted the whole session. This was a dress rehearsals which means that the orchestra would play the whole piece without stopping. Mahler’s 6th is over 1 hour long and I was nervous about whether I can handle being in such an awkward position (sitting on the floor no less). Taking pictures form the sidelines is already a great privileged but taking whilst in the orchestra is a completely different experience.
All the nerves and uncertainty quickly evaporated as I found myself immersed in beautiful music, in 3D stereo no less. EVeryone forgot I as there as they focussed on piece itself. The light was less than ideal but that didn’t matter. I managed to capture this image of the Maestro in action. At the end of the performance, I couldn’t stand up straight for a good 5 minutes because of the lack of blood flow. Some of the musicians actually came up to me and commended me for being able to sit still through the whole session. Go figure.
Can life as a photographer get any better than this????
Taken from the 2009/2010 Season brochure of the Malaysian Philharmonic Orchestra.
The full 2009/2010 Season Brochure of the Malaysian Philharmonic Orchestra can be downloaded at http://www.malaysianphilharmonic.com/