New York City tenant laws allow musicians to practice their chosen instrument from the morning until 10 pm in the evening. Sometimes the musician's union is called to help their members enforce their right to practice at home.
Modern American orchestra generally tune to the pitch "A", set at 440 Hz, and played by the oboe. In 1936, U.S. time and frequency station WWVH began broadcasting a 440 Hz signal at the first minute past every hour in order to aid orchestras in their fine tuning. It continues to this day.
Orchestras traveling on tour will often store instruments in giant shipping containers which they pack and ship themselves. Currently, musicians who travel must face the concern that an overzealous customs agent will destroy on sight an antique bow or instrument because it contains banned items, such as ivory.
Sometimes batons do accidentally fly out of the hands of orchestra conductors, but these days few conductors would actually throw them at his musicians. Some conductors, like Michael Tilson Thomas, have been known to throw cough drops at the audience for too loudly clearing their throats during concerts.
Modern violin strings are made with a steel core, or a synthetic core, but some people, particularly those who play early music, still prefer strings with a gut core. The gut strings, made of sheep or goat gut at the center of the string, are thought to be the most natural and human sounding of strings.
The Amazon Original series is based on the 2005 memoir Mozart in the Jungle, Sex, Drugs, and Classical Music, written by freelance oboist Blair Tindall. The memoir followed her experience in New York as a musician from 1980-1990. Tindall thinly veiled names of real persons involved, and reportedly burned many bridges in her tell-all book.
Most conductors still wear the traditional tuxedo when they work, but the trend has lately been towards more contemporary fashions. Gustavo Dudamel wears an Armani tuxedo, while Christoph Eschenbach famously wears a Nehru jacket.
The producers hired New York musicians as on-screen extras. The second season is studded with classical-world celebrity cameos, including musicians like Joshua Bell and Lang Lang, and the Grammy-winning pianist Emanuel Ax, who played the interactive video game Dance Dance Revolution at a dive bar. All three of these world famous musicians can be seen together in Season 2, Episode 4. Ping Pong, bowling, and jammed photo booths are just a taste of the fun being had.
The song often featured as the introduction and throughout random episodes is actually "Lisztomania," by Phoenix, in assorted instrumental versions. The song's title references the emotional frenzy brought on by the music of composer Franz Liszt, A Hungarian composer from the 19th century. Audience members would weep, faint, get hysterical and even tear apart scraps of his clothing like scarves and gloves, much like later audiences for Elvis Presley and the Beatles.
Lola Kirke (Hailey) has her own musical, and celebrity, roots. Her father, Simon Kirke, was the drummer for rock bands Bad Company and Free. Her mother, Lorraine Kirke, owns a vintage boutique in New York City (Geminola) that supplied a number of outfits for the television series Sex and the City.