He describes the atmosphere within the orchestra as friendly and collegial, but during its local concert season, too hectic to socialize.
It is during the typical two-week concert tours that the orchestra experiences the social connection to the fullest. “On tour we are confined naturally to the same location and schedule, and even though it is usually a frenzied performance/travel schedule, there is time for mutual dinners and some fun. We do feel like a big family and we do get along. With the New York Philharmonic, everybody is allowed to be an Individual but you are also part of a whole entity. That makes the New York Philharmonic sound so charismatic. A lot of the younger generation’s new talented instrumentalists originate from China and Korea and out of the 97 musicians on the current roster of the Philharmonic, 48 are women, I believe.”
Dicterow went on to describe the mutual respect as well as the high artistic level and each instrumentalist’s competence and effort. Everyone “plays their hearts out” and guest conductors often remark on “how fast we get it.”
In his Biographic notes, published on the New York Philharmonic’s website, he acknowledges that he basically had no chance to escape the, for him, practically predestined world of music:
“When you grow up as a symphony brat as I did, you cannot help but feel attracted to that way of life. It surrounded me. There was no way I was going to be a lawyer.”
And New Yorkers, band and audiences alike, are thanking him for that after every performance. When he returns to his private chamber, his dressing room on Avery Fisher Hall’s fourth floor, a bottle of champagne awaits the seasoned Concertmaster, celebrating his so fully-engaged way of “playing the fiddle.”