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Classically Trained: Behind the scenes of a Pacific Symphony performance

August 16, 2012|By Bradley Zint

"It was a book that we know was by his bed and he wrote things inside of it," St.Clair said.

Homer's work may have inspired Beethoven in writing the distinctive rhythm of the Seventh Symphony's second movement, he said.

"The whole metric thing with the second movement ... ." He paused to sing the intro. "It's what's called dactylic hexameter, which is what Homer wrote a lot of that book in."

Knowing such background helps him decide how he will lead the approach to the music.

"All these little things give you insight," he added.

Furthermore, St.Clair said he remains inspired by drawing upon those who taught him, among them, Leonard Bernstein. It's part of his pre-concert routine.

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"I think a lot about what he would say before a concert ... very often he would say just one little sentence that would make everything OK, then you would go onstage," he said. "I think about him a lot. I think about what he would tell me or what he would encourage me to do."

Sometimes St.Clair will bring the score with him to the podium but keep it closed. That's his homage to Seiji Ozawa, who led the Boston Symphony for 29 seasons.

"Every little thing that I do has some sort of indication of my respect for those who have taught me."

BRADLEY ZINT is a classically trained musician and a copy editor for the Daily Pilot. Email him story ideas at bradley.zint@latimes.com or follow him on Twitter @BradleyZint.

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