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Yes my friends, etiquette exists everywhere, even at the symphony – and sometimes in the library. There’s the obvious concert etiquette, and even a code among musicians, but as a librarian, I abide by these two main rules regarding the conductor – never stand on the podium and always call the conductor maestro. Now the first one is easy, and I don’t think anyone would mistake me for someone who actually belongs up there because I’m quite certain that as soon as I step onto it my eyes widen into the deer-in-headlights look. I’m not entirely sure where this rule came from, but most orchestra librarians uphold this. I think they tell you this when you purchase you tortoise-shell glasses.

The second is by far more difficult. By calling someone ‘maestro’ you are showing that you have deep respect for their craft and genius, and well, sometimes that is not always the case. On occasion some will request that I call them by their first name on and off the podium, but that’s a rarity – most like the sound of ‘maestro’ just about as much as they like the sound of their own voice. I like to err on the side of caution, mostly because I’m afraid I’ll embarrass myself by referring to a Music Director by some diminutive form of their name.

I’ve also learned that one should not tell the maestro when they make a mistake, or if one has lost music. Neither ends well.

March 2007
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