Stand Partners For Life

Los Angeles Philharmonic violinists Nathan Cole and Akiko Tarumoto share ‘The Secrets of the Symphony’, telling tales and sharing tips from decades on the world’s stages with the greatest orchestras, soloists, and conductors.

Latest Episodes

Johnny Lee and Akiko Tarumoto in Montreal
036 – Johnny Lee wasn’t meant to be a Harvard MD
036 – Johnny Lee wasn’t meant to be a Harvard MD

Violinist Johnny Lee is Akiko’s mirror image on stage at Disney Hall: he sits fourth chair second violin, while she’s fourth chair first violin. But they have something else in common too. Both went to Harvard, where there is no music performance major. Akiko thought she’d be a lawyer, Johnny a doctor (or was he Read more…

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035: Playing by numbers, or Advanced Orchestral Stats
035: Playing by numbers, or Advanced Orchestra Stats
035: Playing by numbers, or Advanced Orchestra Stats

How many times have you been jealous of the box scores for baseball and basketball, or the advanced statistics for football? Don’t you wish that you too could be measured by notes attempted, notes played in tune, entrances successfully counted? If we got our wish, orchestra concerts would have their own advanced metrics! Here are Read more…

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Flesch and his scales
034: The spirit is willing, but the Flesch is weak
034: The spirit is willing, but the Flesch is weak

This week, we’re talking scales and etudes. Are they the foundational blocks on which your entire technique is built? Or more like raw vegetables that you have to choke down if you want to stay healthy? Akiko actually had a scale class as a kid, while I got a crash course in scales from my Read more…

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Crowd seated for episode 33
033: The audience experience, with superfan Roderick Branch
033: The audience experience, with superfan Roderick Branch

Chicago Symphony cellist Brant Taylor may have been our very first special guest here at the Stand Partners, but so far we’ve been missing the perspective of his partner Roderick Branch. Roderick is a musician, though his day job (and sometimes into the night job) is as a partner at a giant law firm. Roderick Read more…

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Robert deMaine, cello
032: What about Bob? Robert deMaine, our principal cello
032: What about Bob? Robert deMaine, our principal cello

Today we’re joined by our good friend and LA Phil principal cello, Robert deMaine. Bob tells us about his childhood, his musical family and an early teacher who gave him a complete musical education, including piano and composition. He also unpacks how he fell out of love with the cello during his teen years and Read more…

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031: That's life in the hot seat, Mr. Concertmaster!
031: That’s life in the hot seat, Mr. Concertmaster!
031: That’s life in the hot seat, Mr. Concertmaster!

Today we’re talking concertmaster, and what it means to sit in the hot seat. What are the duties and expectations, and what makes “first chair violin” attractive or unattractive to different players? Is playing concertmaster more like being the point guard in basketball, or the quarterback in football? Remember: besides playing all those juicy solos, Read more…

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Nathan and Akiko are Wolfgang and Constanze Mozart
030: All about Amadeus
030: All about Amadeus

Nathan says: “My top three movies of all time would be The Godfather, Rocky, and Amadeus in some order.” Akiko’s not into those “top whatever” lists. But both of us love Amadeus so much that we would drop whatever we’re doing and watch it again right now. Here’s why…

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Living the rock star life at the Hollywood Bowl
029: Living the rock star life at the Hollywood Bowl
029: Living the rock star life at the Hollywood Bowl

It isn’t every day that you get to perform for 18,000 screaming fans… especially if you’re a violinist. But a handful of times each summer, we get the rock star treatment at the Hollywood Bowl! OK, so those 18,000 folks probably aren’t screaming just for the two of us… there might be some famous movie Read more…

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028: Help, my audition’s tomorrow!
028: Help, my audition’s tomorrow!

Maybe it’s the proverbial “seven minutes to midnight”, or maybe you’ve still got a week or two. It never feels like enough time, trust us. So here’s some advice for those last few days, hours, and minutes before your big day, inspired by the recent violin auditions at the LA Philharmonic.

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A Fistful of Mahlers
027: A Fistful of Mahlers
027: A Fistful of Mahlers

First, some exciting news: we’ve got Stand Partners for Life T-shirts! Check them out here, and show your Stand Partner love! For this episode, Akiko and I just had a one-word outline: Mahler! And it turns out we had plenty to say about his symphonies. What’s it like to learn them, refine them, rehearse them, Read more…

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What Our Listeners Say

Customer Reviews
4.9 out of 5
215 Ratings
davidmiyamoto , 11/03/2022
Secrets of the Symphony!
A wonderful insider’s perspective of life as a professional musician shared by this phenomenal husband and wife duo, both violinists in the LA Phil. Nathan’s organized, logical approach is well-balanced by Akik…
Awesomeguy11 , 11/01/2022
So glad it’s coming back
Nathan and Akiko are a delight to listen to, and I look forward to the upcoming season learning more about their lives as violinists!
dnewmanm5 , 10/27/2022
This is a wonderful podcast. Highly recomme…
If you have any interest in how an American symphony orchestra works this is the podcast for you. They are wonderfully reasonable and candid about the life of a symphony play…
pghvla , 12/14/2020
Such a great window into life in classical mus…
I love this podcast. They have a wonderful chemistry and unique insight into life in a major orchestra, told with characteristic charm and intelligence. Really enjoying this podcast and keep them coming!
TheeGeneration.org , 06/30/2021
Practice
I love listening to these while I'm at work, thank you for making them! I wanted to see if you could make an episode on how to practice? As a violinist/violist I started a little late and never got a good…
chrishowardsocal , 09/29/2020
Great Behind the Scenes
Great Behind the Scenes Just finished listening to the first 5 episodes––awesome podcast. The hosts are articulate, humorous, and share a brilliant chemistry. If you play an instrument, take auditions, or want to see behind the scenes of a wor…

Free Guide: 8 Most Common Practice Mistakes

If you’re making any of these mistakes in the practice room, you could be killing your progress and wasting your hard-earned time. Here’s what to do instead:

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Free Guide

If You’re Making Any Of These 8 Mistakes In The Practice Room

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