So - the problem for a violinist, at the time when I completed my studies at the Paris Conservatory, was the following. Either I wanted to be a solist (and chamber music player), or I wished to play in an orchestra. Having always been interested in conceiving my "own" interpretations, or at least seeking the composer's intent by myself, I felt more like trying to be a solist. Unfortunately, in that case, I had to work with concert agents. Concert agents have never been musicians themselves (or only exceptionally), but, at least, they used to be music-lovers. But when I graduated from Paris, it was no longer the case. Most of them were merely moneymakers who looked for the latest young virtuoso. Once they had found him, he had to play 150 concerts a year, unless he had some millionaires and bank owners in his parentage, or a strong network of powerful relations. Menuhin himself probably had less to say than his banquier! This meant that he couldn't afford to reflect on his music any more, that he travelled every other day, add the nervous tension of concerts,... tendinitis, arm diseases, etc. Within a few years, any less-than-athletic guy would be broken down (and I am much less than athletic, as you may know). I simply couldn't accept to be washed out like that, while my idea of a musician's life was like Milstein's or Menuhin's, keep searching, improving, maturing for dozens of years. A lifetime is not enough to exhaust Bach's music alone... Apart from concert agents, there were lots of people living like parasites around musicians and I couldn't stand the superficiality and pettiness of the milieu. Sadly most musicians themselves know very little apart from their own instrument, because it is very difficult to study music at a professional level and still keep a decent level of general knowledge. All in all, I decided that I wouldn't be a musician under such conditions and preferred to turn to science. But, obviously, music was, is and will always be at the heart of my life and soul.
It is difficult to play in major concerts when you are not part of the "market" any more. But, at least, when I do play, no matter the place, I can choose what I play and how long it takes me to reflect and work on my program.