Principal Double Bass
So, why the white tie?
It’s a fair question. And it’s one we get asked a lot. The short answer is that the cut of this outfit makes everyone look good. But for me, there’s more to it than meets the eye. It does have history – form, if you will. Symphony orchestras (as we know them now) roared into existence in early 19th-century Europe, and the art of stepping out and going to the theatre demanded formal dress of everyone attending, including musicians. So, there’s the historical link. Tradition duly acknowledged.
After decades as a professional musician, I no longer think about the outfit as formal or overly fancy. It now means something else. The fact that we all dress in monochrome and the same style (female members of the orchestra being allowed some small, expressive latitude) speaks to the idea that we’re united in music – and united around its performance. Music is front and centre and all of us – musicians and audience members – become some part of that music.
So, there you have it. White tie – in honour of the music and of you, our audience. Incidentally, when you join us at a performance you're welcome to wear whatever you want.