Pre-concert Rituals: Asher Fisch
by Kathleen Sykes
There’s fantasy, and then there’s reality. For world renowned conductor Asher Fisch, things don’t always go according to plan when he’s getting ready to perform. In spite of all the pressure, he comes onto the stage cool, composed, and ready to make music. Read about what a typical performance day looks like for him, and what he wants it to look like in the future:
I would have loved to say that my pre-concert ritual commences with a long sleep the night before, a relaxed morning, a massage and a dip in the jacuzzi, a gourmet lunch and an afternoon nap. I can’t remember the last time I actually had anything similar to that before a concert. Reality is very different, especially when you conduct lots of operas. There is always some extra rehearsal for a singer who jumped in for a colleague that cancelled, an ensemble which needs to be tightened up just before I go into the pit. I might even rehearse in the morning a different opera for the following week. There is always some office work which needs to be done, or a last-minute interview. But I can live well with all of the above. The real stress starts before curtain when I have to get dressed. My “real” pre-concert ritual is the eternal fight with the cufflinks, these little things which I have to insert into the small button holes in a bleached tight tuxedo shirt. Tying a clean knot on the bow tie is also no small feat. I am also notorious for forgetting something at the hotel or at the cleaners, begging stage management to produce an accessory at the last minute.
So here is my wish for when I become a rich old conductor – I want to have a dresser! Like in the good old days when conductors had a nobility status, so that the first relaxed moment on a concert day is not when I give the up beat.
Watch Maestro Fisch conduct the Mendelssohn’s “Scottish” Symphony with Strauss’ Metamorphosen.