Ladies and Gentlemen…please welcome the Chairman of the London Symphony Orchestra

I couldn’t help noticing the sign on our bus as we left Germany for Paris at the weekend.

Just in case you are reading this on a smartphone and it is too small, the sign says ‘Comedy Tour’! As I was taking a photo for possible use on this blog, the chairman of the orchestra, Lennox Mackenzie came and stood close by and looked  at me suspiciously, fearing I was going to put something silly and low brow on the blog. Again. However much to my surprise he relayed an exchange which occurred between him and Maxine Kwok-Adams (the sparkly first violin player) in the rehearsal for Beethoven 9. He also suggested that I should use it for your reading pleasure.

Drum roll please.

Calf heads and hard sticks of course.

During one of the many fast passages which the firsts negotiate on our behalf in Beethoven 9, there is some vigorous movement of the bow the technical term for which is “scrubbing” so my stringy friends tell me. It is named thus because the movement of the bow, back and forth on the strings reminds one of the motion required for scrubbing the floor.  In the rehearsal in Bonn, Lennie and Maxine were sitting next to each other on the second desk, scrubbing away. As it was a rehearsal, Lennie was dressed in normal clothes. As it was a rehearsal, Maxine was dressed for a Vogue photo shoot complete with sparkles, dangly earrings and heels so high she has to regularly stop for oxygen. Anyway, all of a sudden one of the earrings decided to detach itself from her ear and fly across the stage to somewhere near John Eliot’s feet. It is unclear whether this was due to an accessory malfunction, the bow clipping the earring or just through sheer physical effort of the bowing arm.

As the jewellery landed with a tinkle on the floor, Lennie, who continued to play, leant across and spoke to Maxine.

“What a coincidence!”

“What do you mean Lennie?” Maxine probably replied…

“Well, Beethoven lost his ‘earing in Bonn too…”


He is wasted in this orchestra.

Ladies and Gentlemen, I give you Lennie Mackenzie. Chairman. Violinist. Comedian. Scrubber.


About LSO

The London Symphony Orchestra is one of the world's top orchestras. Our home is at the Barbican Centre in the City of London where we play over 80 concerts every year, but we also spend quite a bit of time out on the road, touring all over the world. Recently we have toured to Germany, France, Russia, New York, Japan, Holland, Hungary, Austria, Belgium, Italy, Switzerland and Lithuania; and coming up this year are China, Taiwan, Malaysia, Japan, Hong Kong, Spain, Portugal, Florida, Romania and a return visit to New York, where we are resident at the Lincoln Center.
This entry was posted in Beethovenfest September 2011, Gareth Davies and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

5 Responses to Ladies and Gentlemen…please welcome the Chairman of the London Symphony Orchestra

  1. Barry Marsh says:

    Love this story!

    But…..for the purists (who ruin everything I know) – Ludwig lost his hearing in Heiligenstadt, on the outskirts of Vienna!

    Looking forward to your next Barbican season.

    Barry Marsh

  2. LSO says:

    What you don’t know though Barry, is that Maxine bought the offending earring in the Jewellers in Heiligenstadt on her Pan European cycle ride last summer.

  3. lipkinhorn says:

    Roflmao!!! Oh soooo funny!!! Now be very careful I know a very nice joke about flute players rehearsing Carmen at the Paris Opera.

  4. maxine kwok-adams says:

    Don’t tell everyone I did that pan-european cycle ride.. 😉

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