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How to prepare for a symphony concert

I love it when people pull back from the piddly nonsense in life and focus on what matters, Big Picture. This could be in relationships, in politics, in really anything that matters.

I love it when people pull back from the piddly nonsense in life and focus on what matters, Big Picture. This could be in relationships, in politics, in really anything that matters.


So I really enjoyed Thor’s overarching perspective on stage management in our conversation on Zeitgeist Radio.


Because at the end of the day, Thor wants to create an environment where the performers can focus purely on their art and deliver the best possible performance to the audience.


In his perspective, the role of a stage manager is to remove potential obstacles so that the music can shine without distractions. This includes providing an invisible bubble of support around the performers.


Thor lists so many tiny details that would seemingly fall way outside his “job description” that he’s done to help performers feel comfortable on stage.


Finding a baton for a conductor? Check. Procuring music for someone who forgot theirs 3 hours away in LA? Check. Fixing a strap on a soloist’s dress? Check.


Holding a Stratovarius? Even I feel terrified thinking about that one.


At the end of the day, could you even say Thor’s “big picture” is a to create an environment conducive to Zeitgeist moments?



Here’s how to prepare for a concert, from a stage management perspective. Let’s assume a Saturday night concert, which is pretty common:

  • 3 to 4 weeks before the concert: Meetings and discussions about the concert's details, such as the program, soloists, instrumentation, and the size of the orchestra.

  • 2.5 weeks before the concert: Gather more information and become more concerned about the logistics of the concert.

  • 1.5 weeks before the concert: Start planning and creating drawings of the stage setup.

Week of the concert:

  • Sunday rehearsal the week before the concert: Musicians start to show up, but those from out of town often don't attend.

  • Tuesday rehearsal: More people start showing up, and the preparation begins to take shape.

  • Thursday rehearsal: This is the first significant rehearsal before the concert, and it is expected to have a solid attendance.

  • Friday (dress rehearsal): Everyone is on stage to see and finalize the stage setup. Hopefully (for Thor) a full run-through of the concert in concert order so he and his team can make sure their plans flow smoothly.

  • Saturday: concert time! The stage manager aims to be as efficient and invisible as possible, ensuring smooth transitions and minimal disturbance during stage changes.


And it's a wrap! Have you ever been part of a stage crew? Comment below with your experiences.


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