Winning an 'A' for Conduct
On one day's notice, and with no chance to rehearse the orchestra, Gisèle Ben-Dor stepped to the podium of the New York Philharmonic on December 7 to replace the flu-smitten Kurt Masur. Music director of the Pro Arte Chamber Orchestra of Boston and the Annapolis Symphony, Ben-Dor made her unscheduled Philharmonic debut with Brahms's Tragic Overture and Violin Concert (conducted without score or baton) and close with Mendelssohn's Scottish Symphony . Unlike the famous substitution of Leonard Bernstein for Bruno Walter on November 14, 1943 - now the stuff of legend - Ben-Dor's performance was unheralded by the New York press, which was not there to review a program that had been played three times before. The concert was, however, greeted with a standing ovation from the capacity crowd at Avery Fisher Hall.