MEMORIES OF JIM DIXON
by Ron Rhodes
I recall one personal incident. Dixon never reacted much during a concert to the occasional "incident." However, on one of my first concerts (they let me play 1st horn on Fingal's Cave), I forgot an entrance or miscounted, or something. There was no reaction. But one day later, Jim passed me on the barracks stairs and wagged a finger - at least he was smiling.
I arrived in Germany a short time before Jim Dixon left. Oddly enough, I also got to play under him again in 1966-67 when I was working on a doctorate at Iowa University.
The strongest impressions I have from those early days have to do with rehearsals of Brahms 1st Symphony and also the Adagio for Strings. In almost every rehearsal the passion Jim brought to that particular music and the sound he drew out of the strings brought me to goosebumps. Other pieces on the program were the Hebrides Overture and the Dello Joio Variations, Chaconne and Finale.
Certainly I will never forget the second movement of the Brahms. Every time the strings got into that dotted rhythm and subsequent intense buildup (after the opening section) I was absolutely "out of my tree". It was so beautiful!! EVERY time!
Unlike many in the orchestra, my previous experience playing with really fine orchestras had been somewhat limited. Jim conducted with a commitment and intensity that really opened up a whole new world to me. I felt that his passion for the music was absolute and it really showed in the way the orchestra responded.