Sex, drugs and classical music illustrate what happens behind the curtains at the symphony can be just as captivating as what occurs on stage.
Sex, drugs and classical music illustrate what happens behind the curtains at the symphony can be just as captivating as what occurs on stage. Brash new maestro Rodrigo (Gael Garcia Bernal) is stirring things up, and young oboist Hailey (Lola Kirke) hopes for her big chance.
Inspired by Hailey's passion, Rodrigo insists that she play with the orchestra, over the objections of Gloria (Bernadette Peters). Veteran maestro Thomas (Malcolm McDowell) tries to rise above his resentment of Rodrigo, only to face more humiliations. Hailey pays a late night visit to Alex, on the eve of her big day -- the moment she's been waiting for.
Alex helps Hailey figure out an easy way to make money, while back at the symphony hall, an older musician collapses when Rodrigo pushes him too hard. After being humiliated by Rodrigo's assistant, Hailey lets off a lifetime of steam, and is caught off guard when Rodrigo makes her an offer.
Gloria hosts a fundraiser to introduce Rodrigo. Hailey is sent to retrieve him and Thomas steps in to perform. When Rodrigo finally arrives to wow the crowd, Thomas can no longer contain himself. But the new maestro isn't enjoying himself -- he's haunted by a message: someone important is coming.
Rodrigo seeks guidance to rid himself of his "dreadful passion." With Thomas gone on a sabbatical, Cynthia bonds with Betty. In the middle of Alex's showcase -- an intimate dance with his roommate -- Hailey is summoned by Rodrigo to keep him from seeing Ana Maria. When she heads to Alex's apartment later, Hailey doesn't like what she finds.
As pressure mounts before the launch of the new season, Rodrigo erupts. His behavior alarms the symphony's business advisor, Edward, who warns Gloria to rein him in - just as her star conductor takes the orchestra on a surprise field trip. In the wake of all the drama, Hailey arrives home to find Alex, wondering why she hasn't returned his calls.
At a fundraising gala at an estate, Edward offers a large sum if Rodrigo will play the violin. Rodrigo ups the ante and turns the tables. Hailey runs into Lizzie, and discovers her roommate has been hiding her upper crust roots -- before spending the rest of the night impressing a man with aristocratic credentials of his own.
When Rodrigo decides he doesn't want Windsor Elliot for his opening night, the legendary pianist confronts him, and ends up helping him realize who he does want. Cynthia is sent to track down Thomas, but isn't quite prepared for what greets her. Hailey gives an intimate oboe lesson to her wealthy new friend, but the session is interrupted by Lizzie, who has some surprising news about her pupil.
Rodrigo summons Hailey to drive him upstate to find Ana Maria, explaining that she "makes him alive," exactly what the symphony needs opening night. Back in the city, Cynthia takes some pills for her wrist, and ends up seeing a co-worker in a whole new light. Hailey finds Alex, ready to feel alive.
After a harsh verdict from Betty, Hailey is ready to give up on her dream. But as the crowd fills the hall for opening night, Betty has gone missing. No one in the orchestra is prepared for what happens next. As their tempestuous new soloist, Ana Maria, goes off the rails, Rodrigo is forced to make a choice.