Mozart in the Jungle

Mozart in the Jungle

Sex, Drugs, and Classical Music

Book - 2005
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From her debut recital at Carnegie Hall to performing with the orchestras of "Les Miserables and "Miss Saigon, oboist Blair Tindall has been playin g classical music professionally for twenty-five years. She's also lived the secret life of musicians who survive hand to mouth, trading sex and drugs for low-paying gigs and the promise of winning a rare symphony position or a lucrative solo recording contract. In "Mozart in the Jungle, Tindall delves into her own life and the lives of the musicians and conductors show inhabit the insular world of classical music. After having an affair with her forty-three-year-old teacher at the age of sixteen, Tindall graduates from the North Carolina School of the Arts to the back-biting New York classical music scene, a world where classical musicians trade sexual favors for plum jobs and assignments in musicals and orchestras across the city. Tindall and her fellow journeymen musicians often play drunk, high, or hopelessly hungover, live in decrepit apartments, and perform in hazardous conditions--in the cramped confines of a Broadway pit, the decibel level of one instrument is equal to the sound of a chain saw. "Mozari in the Jungle offers a stark contrast between the rarefied experiences of overpaid classical musician superstars and those of the working-class musicians who schelp across the city from low-paying gig to low-paying gig, without health-care benefits or retirement plans. For lovers of classical music, "Mozart in the Jungle is the first true, behind-the-scenes look at what goes on backstage and in the Broadway pit.
Publisher: New York : Atlantic Monthly Press, 2005.
Edition: 1st ed.
ISBN: 9780871138903
Branch Call Number: 781.68 TIN
Characteristics: x, 318 p. : ill.


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Mar 10, 2018

I really don't understand the critics reviews. Rather than putting their judgement forward, they should see this as a personal and historic (well beyond the Amazon series) report of the lives of musicians, or at least some of them, around New York. I found the description of her choices as a teenager, regarding music and the rest, interesting. Also her description of the classical music economics is telling of the dynamics that have been at work in the last 80 years. Finally, drug use is not surprising, if we thought that only stock brokers were addicted to cocaine in the 80s, probably that's incorrect. While this book is not a journalism masterpiece, it offers a perspective that taken with a grain of salt is interesting. I may not agree with her choices, yet it projects me into environments and periods that I enjoyed discovering. And maybe learn from the past to imagine the future.

Jun 15, 2017

There are interesting parts of this book, but as it went on Blair just became insufferable. There’s a lot of information given about the politics involved in classical music, the rising costs of orchestras, the day to day lifestyles of musicians, and the way classical musicians look down on Broadway orchestras. But the book is ruined by Blair’s inability to take responsibility for herself. Blair chooses to go to NC School of the Arts instead of Exeter, but then acts like she never chose to study music. She has friends, only to turn on all of them at some point. She writes viciously about her friends’ bad choices, while completely ignoring her own. Only an awful person would hold a grudge against a sick man recovering from a heart transplant because he didn’t personally thank her when he got put on the spot to give a speech during a surprise party. Towards the end of the book she’s rightfully proud of starting over to try to be a writer, but then she self-righteously acts like she is smarter than all of the musicians who stuck with classical music.

Aug 05, 2016

This book, while similar to the Amazon Prime TV series, is far more of a chronology than a sordid expose' of classical musicians and symphonies. The author intersperses personal experiences with the history of the growth of American classical music and the unglamorous reality of the life of a musician. I enjoyed the book, although sometimes I got bogged down in the facts and figures. Her life was not easy, and the romantic notion of being a musician is quickly dispelled.

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