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Carnegie Hall

L.A. Philharmonic musicians are tuned to idiosyncrasies to stay sharp

L.A. Philharmonic musicians are tuned to idiosyncrasies to stay sharp

He lifts the woodwind and dampens the reed. Fingers press silver keys. Shoulders broaden, eyes narrow. A mournful note rises like the hush of a winter afternoon slipping to dusk. He follows the long lines, breath draining from him — until silence — when he releases the keys, looks up and begins anew. David Howard has played bass clarinet for the Los Angeles Philharmonic for 34 years. As a kid, he accompanied his father to concerts and waited in the Hollywood Citizen News office while the old man banged out classical music reviews. He grew up with scores and song sheets. He now travels the world with clarinet cases and bow ties, attuned to the micro-rhythms of life in an...

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