I'm Tony Miceli, and I'm a vibe player in Philadelphia, Pa. I play, teach and I run

Friday, November 17, 2006

Can you play when you're angry?

Recently Christophe Eschenbach announced his decision to step down from his post as conductor of The Philadelphia Orchestra, making his five-year tenure the orchestra's shortest in nearly a century. Initially he gave no reason why. After rehearsal on Monday, it's reported that he told the orchestra that he had been surprised to learn from its president that 80 percent of the musicians did not agree with his artistic interpretations; that 80 percent of the musicians left concerts feeling great anger; and that the orchestra was a "ticking time bomb."

That got me thinking...can you make great music while you're angry?

Maybe it depends what you're angry about. If you're angry at your conductor, that's one thing, whereas if you're angry at social unjustice and playing protest music, that's another....and if you couldn't find a parking spot for your gig and just had to fork out another $20 to park in a lot, that's something else too.

I think an undercurrent of anger runs through some of Mingus' music...

Monk had a lot to be angry about (like having his New York City cabaret card unjustly confiscated so he could not perform for years in a place serving alcohol), but I don't think I've ever felt anger in his music, more like playfulness and joy....

But now I'm mixing up whether a certain composition sounds angry, versus whether a certain performer is angry while playing any kind of composition.

Maybe it's silly, but I'm curious if anyone has any thoughts on this. Can YOU play well when you're angry? Do you find you play BETTER if you're all fired up about something?


  • At 12:31 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    as the story goes, when the miles quartet played at carnegie hall, miles told the guys that they were donating all their money to the naacp. they were all really angry to hear that. listen to that cd!!! it's incredible.

    personally i've played several gigs i can remember where the band was not getting along and the music was great.

    anecdotal, but it's my 2 cents!



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