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

Happy violin New Year!
016: Violin resolutions we’ve made, kept, and broken
016: Violin resolutions we’ve made, kept, and broken

Happy New Year and new season of Stand Partners for Life! In this episode, we take a look back at resolutions we’ve made about our playing… and not all of them stuck! From scale practice to solo Bach, counting rests to keeping a practice journal, each of us had critical moments in our violin past Read more…

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Audition helping hand
015: We all need an audition helping hand
015: We all need an audition helping hand

We were pretty good back in the day, but even so we weren’t winning auditions on our own. Here are those moments when we got a helping hand!

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Track from above
014: The very first steps in audition preparation
014: The very first steps in audition preparation

As soon as we see a job listing online or in the International Musician, our wheels start turning. Which way do they turn? What are the first steps we take to get started preparing? In this episode, we look at the upcoming New York Philharmonic violin openings (September 2018) as an example of how to Read more…

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Nathan with bandaged fingers
013: Violin fitness – staying healthy or playing hurt
013: Violin fitness – staying healthy or playing hurt

As Kramer says in Seinfeld’s “The Wig Master” episode, “I don’t argue with the body, Jerry. It’s an argument you can’t win.” Sooner or later, we all learn the truth of that statement, especially those of us who are forced to rely on little tiny muscles to do things like play the violin! In the picture above, Read more…

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Hugh Fink
012: Hugh Fink, playing Carnegie and writing for SNL
012: Hugh Fink, playing Carnegie and writing for SNL

Some people were just born to do what they do, and Hugh Fink was born to be funny. Or was he born to play the violin? Because even though comedy has set the course of Hugh’s life, he has performed violin solos to a packed Carnegie Hall, something I can’t boast about! Hugh is one Read more…

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Nathan and Akiko in Paris, 2018
011: Orchestra tours – the good, the bad, and the ugly
011: Orchestra tours – the good, the bad, and the ugly

In this day and age, when an orchestra can broadcast its performances worldwide (as the Berlin Philharmonic does with its Digital Concert Hall), why would a group like the LA Phil pack up and lumber around the world? That question was on our minds since we just returned from a two-week international tour. Remember, when Read more…

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The Cole family, 1985
010: Stand Parents – Nathan’s Mom and Dad on raising a violinist
010: Stand Parents – Nathan’s Mom and Dad on raising a violinist

If you’re a musician and you have a young child, do you start him on an instrument? If so, is it the same instrument you play? If so, do you teach him? Or do you make sure your kids steer clear of the musician’s life? These are questions we ask ourselves all the time regarding Read more…

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Nate Farrington
009: Nate Farrington, on stage and on-screen in Hollywood
009: Nate Farrington, on stage and on-screen in Hollywood

Summary What would you do if you showed up to an audition and heard, “OK, when I give you the signal, play something intense. Then on the next signal, more intensity!” Well, that’s exactly what happened to double bassist Nate Farrington. Except he was auditioning for a national Honda TV spot, and the mysterious voice belonged to Read more…

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Nathan, Chicago Symphony program book
008: The decline and fall of an orchestra player
008: The decline and fall of an orchestra player

Akiko is back to take on what could be a depressing subject: the inevitable erosion of your skills as a violinist when you play in an orchestra. But don’t every violinist’s skills go away eventually, or is there something about being in an orchestra that makes it happen faster? We got the idea for this Read more…

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Brant, Akiko, and Nathan in Italy
007: Why cellist Brant Taylor took a break from the Chicago Symphony
007: Why cellist Brant Taylor took a break from the Chicago Symphony

A reminder that if you don’t yet have our free guide to evaluating and upgrading your violin, make sure to click this link to download it. Even if you’re not in the market, you never know when you’ll be called upon to help a friend pick a new instrument…so be prepared! For the first time, 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

(and everyone I’ve worked with makes at least 1) you’re holding yourself back! Get back on track today:
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