I’ve always known the music world is a small one, but I didn’t realize how small until I started working in it full time. Forget six degrees of separation — I’m one degree of separation from everyone.
For example, this morning was my first lesson with a new cello student. Turns out her teacher subs for the BSO, and we’ll share the stage next week for a double bill of Stravinsky’s The Nightingale and Ravel’s L’Enfant et les sortilèges. The student knows the horn player whom I’m performing with tomorrow because they attended Aspen together.
Another coincidence: I regularly sub for a church choir director in Norwell, a good 25 miles away from Boston. We recently discovered that her other sub is none other than my vocal coach.
Even my husband, who is not a musician, is not immune from my musical connections. His coworker recently starred in The Mikado alongside a TFC member, a co-founder of Opera on Tap Boston, and our Marcello from last year’s La Bohème — all singers I’ve worked with.
The smallness of the music world kind of terrifies me. I fear that if I have a bad day, the entire East Coast is going to find out, and nobody will ever hire me again. In my nightmares, I hear everyone whispering: “Do you know Eileen?” “Oh yes, she should’ve stayed a chemist or a marketing manager, or whatever else it is that she does better than playing the piano.”
There’s only one way around my insecurity: being awesome. I’m working on it.