A Week in the Life of David Porter

David Porter in Abravanel Hall

David Porter in Abravanel Hall

For those of you who don’t know me, I am a violinist in my eighteenth year with the Utah Symphony. I am often asked how I make my living as a musician in the orchestra. Perhaps the most common question is some form of “Is this what you do for a living?”, or “Is it a full time job?”. Of course, the answer to both questions is a resounding “YES!”, but that hardly explains the unusual and highly variable schedule that a Utah Symphony musician experiences. Generally, we have somewhere in the neighborhood of three concerts and four rehearsals a week. The rehearsals usually take place during the day, and the performances at night, unless the rehearsals are with the chorus, and the concerts are for kids. Run-outs, operas, tours, and the Deer Valley Music Festival are just examples of commitments that further complicate our varied schedule.

David and Divna Porter

David and Divna Porter

Add in family obligations, students, practice, and an extra chamber music performance here and there, and life can get very, very busy. Using myself as an example, I have a six-year-old daughter named Divna, about ten students, run a chamber music series called Intermezzo, and play Concertmaster for the Utah Chamber Artists. I used the last week of February, 2014, as a snapshot of what my schedule can look like.

Sunday, February 23

10am – Take my daughter (Divna) to ski lesson
4:30pm – Practice violin with Divna
5pm – Frantically prepare dinner and instruct babysitter
6-10pm – Rehearsal with Utah Chamber Artists for Brahms Requiem

Monday, February 24

7:30am – Get Divna ready for school
8:20am – Drop off Divna at school
10-12:30pm – Perform two 5th Grade Docent concerts at Abravanel Hall
1-3pm – Practice repertoire for weekend’s Utah Symphony Masterworks concert
3:30pm – Pick up Divna from school
3:30-5:30pm – Homework and practice with Divna
5:30pm – Prepare dinner for Divna
7:30-9:30pm – Brahms Requiem performance
10-12am – “Chopped” reruns and snow report perusal

Tuesday, February 25

7:30am – the morning scramble to ready for school
10-12:30pm – 5th Grade Docent concerts
1:15-3:15pm – Rehearsal playing viola on Mozart Piano Quartet for a Westminster College performance
3:30pm – Pick up Divna from school.
3:30-4pm – Curious George
4-5:30pm – Host play date. Scrounge frantically for a better viola for next Monday’s chamber music concert
5:30-7pm – Homework and convince Divna that violin isn’t really all that bad
7-8pm – Dinner
8-8:30pm – Bath time and stories!
9-10pm – Practice and longingly eye bottle of wine

Wednesday, February 26

7:30am – Dress a sleeping Divna. Tights are the worst!
9:30-12pm – Utah Symphony rehearsal
3:30-7:30pm – Four hours of trying to find an inspiring way to say for the thirtieth time “It’s a b-flat”
8-11:30 – Recovery

Thursday, February 27

9:30-12pm – Utah Symphony rehearsal
1:30-3:30pm – Utah Symphony rehearsal
4-6pm – Torturing youth

Friday, February 28

9:30-12pm – Utah Symphony rehearsal
2:15-4pm – Mozart Piano Quartet rehearsal
4:15-6:15pm – Teach
8-10:15pm – Utah Symphony Masterworks Performance
10:30-?am – Beerhive

Saturday, March 1

9-2pm – Weekly marathon teaching day.
2-4pm – Lunch/Nap/Facebook
5-7pm – Dinner with Divna
8-10:15pm – Utah Symphony Masterworks Performance
10:30pm – Hunger Games