Through the eyes of... Pete Deane
You’ve been stage managing the SCO for over two years now and have also been involved in a few SCO Connect projects, what have been your main highlights?
I’m happy to say that there have been many highlights over the last two and a half years! Most recently however, I had my first visit to the Royal Albert Hall for a Prom. The significance of the venue and occasion was an amazing (and slightly daunting!) experience. We also travelled to Shetland this summer for the first time in approximately ten years. We found the people there to be welcoming and extremely helpful. Whenever the SCO goes on our travels it’s always a great experience.
So outside of making the Orchestra happy and look good on stage, what does your role as Stage Manager involve? / What does a typical working day look like for you? If there is!
It’s an extremely varied job but days during the main season tend to fall into some kind of pattern. I generally find myself setting up and supporting rehearsals for the first couple of days of the week before heading off to Glasgow, Perth, St Andrew’s or some of the other venues we visit each year. I also look after the running of the SCO truck and our equipment/instrument store. From time to time, I also visit new/potential venues alongside a member of our marketing team. Perhaps most importantly is making sure the orchestra have enough biscuits!
We’re heading into our 2017/18 Season, how do you feel about the new season? Which concerts present the most challenging stage set ups and / or stage changes?
I find that I always look forward to the change between our seasons, whether from summer into autumn/winter or the reverse. It provides a refreshing change of pace and different ways of working. This coming season features a wide range of music from different eras including some modern pieces which feature some slightly unusual orchestrations and instruments to our normal setup. In particular I’m looking forward to Colin Currie performing Rautavaara Percussion Concerto. I’ve not seen Colin performing before and this promises to be quite a large set up with all the bells and whistles (almost literally!). Our annual family concerts are also a lot of fun and normally involve a slightly more challenging setup. Last season I witnessed the orchestra dressed up as cats and dogs! I’m keen to see what surprises lie in store this coming season!
What has been your most unusual request from a conductor or soloist?
In my first Edinburgh International Festival concert, we had to setup “offstage spades” for a percussionist to “play”. This was a dramatic part of the score however, so not simply at the whim of the conductor! The player in question did do a great job on the night as the gravedigger! I also had to visit toy shops recently in order to find rubber balls to fill a cardboard box for a piece by Thomas Larcher in our recent BBC Prom concert. I received a few funny looks when I explained what I required them for!
Finally, if you could swap places (musical ability aside) with anyone in the Orchestra, who would you pick and why?
It’s a regret of mine that I could never really get the hang of written music. An embarrassing admission considering where I work! If I could have got my head around this however, I’d have loved to play any of the stringed instruments. I’m also a frustrated drummer however and so would love to be able to punctuate some grand pieces with a good whack on the timpani!