Simon: My favorite experience so far is working with our Music Director, Maestro Riccardo Muti. His enormous energy and joy for what he does always brings out the best in everyone in the orchestra. We recently played Beethoven’s 5th Symphony. Everyone in the orchestra seemed to be a little tired of the piece due to how often they play it but with Maestro Muti, the orchestra sounded like it was the first time ever and everyone was enjoying it.
Matous: My favorite experience has definitively been the performance of Verdi’s Falstaffwith Maestro Muti. That was a very inspiring and memorable week. I have learned so much from my colleagues and also the guest conductors in terms of how it really works in a professional orchestra.
Simon: I think the most fun in this job is that every day is different. We have a different schedule and program every week, conductors lead rehearsals in different styles so we never get bored, and there is always a sense of the “new.” The only thing that seems to be quite regular is having 4 rehearsals and 3 to 4 concerts per week.
Matous: I usually get up around 8 AM in the morning. I eat breakfast and walk over to the hall for a 10 AM rehearsal. After rehearsals I usually do some kind of work out and then relax. Later in the day I practice and prepare for the upcoming week.
Matous: Practicing slowly with maximum focus.
Simon: Practicing slowly surely was an important part of it. The second thing I would say is to keep a cool head and have confidence in yourself that you can win. If that is missing, it is like admitting defeat before you even get started.
Simon: We are originally from Bezděkov nad Metují, Czech Republic, a small village in Northeast Czech only a few miles from Poland. I think the one thing I miss the most is being in touch with nature. Bezděkov has a population of 300 people, and it is surrounded by hills, fields, forests, and plenty of space. Living in NYC and Chicago is like being in another world.
Simon: Alaska and New Zealand. Two heavens on earth I always wanted to visit but never had the chance.
Matous: I like to cook and bake.
Simon: Leonard Cohen, given that I only listen to classical music and jazz.
Matous: Leonard Cohen, as well. I think his music has a lot of substance and character.
Simon: Thomas Jefferson so he could change the 2nd Amendment.
Matous: Leonard Bernstein. I have read almost all the books that are out there about him and all the conversation books with him. He was in my opinion one of the most educated, talented and versatile musicians in history. He composed everything from classical music all the way to Broadway pop. His knowledge of music was immense.
Simon: It was a very short but important step to achieve my goals.
Matous: A lot of hard and fun lessons with Lisa Kim and Glenn Dicterow, who helped me win the job with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra.
Matous: Playing concertmaster in one of the school orchestra concerts. One of the pieces on the program was Strauss’ Heldenleben, which has a massive violin solo. That was a very fun memory.
Simon: I’m not sure I can answer this question; that would be more for a third party judge. People tend to say we are different in many aspects; others say we are very similar. I think in general we like similar things but we go about it in different ways.
Matous: I love watching English Premier League soccer and I am also a big fan of Chelsea FC. I wake up every weekend, usually both Saturday and Sunday around 6 or 6:30am (sometimes even earlier), to watch the games.
Simon: I’d say my biggest passion is to enjoy life properly. Do fun stuff and do not be bothered by everyday problems that will solve themselves. Relax, read a book with a glass of wine, go out with friends, and watch the Cubs finally win.
CSO Musician Spotlight on Simon and Matous
“A double posting for the CSO’s second violin section” by CSO Sounds & Stories