Davyd Booth, Second Violin
Hometown: Clarksburg, WV
Orchestra member since: 1973
What are some of your hobbies?
--I grow and collect plants, particularly orchids. I have two greenhouses and about 6000 plants. I also collect CDs of instrumental and vocal performances and over the years have amassed a collection of 12000 LPS and 25000 CDS. I love excess!!! I also love spending time with my family - my partner Carlos Perez and our four parrots, three macaws, Carmen, Zilla (short for Birdzilla), Cobalt, and our very talkative African Gray Parrot Tristan.
People would be surprised to know that ...
--I like body art and have some 80 tattoos, several of which I got on orchestra tours in Japan and Switzerland.
What do you like to do when the orchestra is on the road?
--When the orchestra travels I like to visit gardens, greenhouses, museums, places of interest, and restaurants.
What has it been like to play with so many of our music directors?
--All of the music directors have been amazing, so many different approaches and each had special strengths. Ormandy had a great ear for sound; Muti had great excitement and presented some unforgettable opera performances; Sawallisch was quite possibly the most impressive all around musician I have ever encountered. Besides being a truly great conductor he was a phenomenal world class virtuoso pianist. I don't know how he kept his pianism at such a high level. I would say that as great as these men were we now have the greatest in Yannick. I cant tell you how many times I’ve come off the stage after one of his concerts and felt that I had just been involved in the best performance of the piece we have ever played. I feel that we are really in a new Golden Age here in Philadelphia.
Please tell us about your unique role as both a violinist and keyboardist for the orchestra.
--I started playing piano very soon after I started. Ormandy heard that I played piano and asked me to play for him. My audition was Firebird and the Franck Violin Sonata, which has a very difficult piano part. I played and Ormandy stood over me and sang the violin part all the way through. A rather strange but I guess effective audition. It has been very interesting and at times very challenging playing both violin and keyboard. With the Philadelphia Orchestra I have performed on piano, Celeste, organ, harpsichord, synthesizer, harmonium, putative organ and harmonium. I almost forgot accordion and cannon, which is perhaps my best instrument. One of the special things over the years is to play piano for conductor-soloist rehearsals and for Ormandy alone I did this maybe 50 times with people like Isaac Stern, Richard Tucker, leontyne Price and many others. It has really been a fabulous experience, one that I consider myself very lucky to have.