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Viola player Annette Isserliss concludes her US tour diary:
Awoke wondering how on earth the OAE homeward travellers (the players who weren’t staying on for the Heiner Goebbel’s concert) had managed to rouse themselves to leave at 6.00 am! Took the subway (with viola in tow) to meet cousin Judy in Chelsea, and after a guided tour of some of the finer architectural sights, we climbed up onto the High Walk: converted from an old railway on an overpass to a garden walk with views of Chelsea Harbour with Hoboken,New Jersey beyond, on one side, and interesting city glimpses on the other. Although botanically at this time of year it was confined to almost-budding saplings and crocuses (crocii??) it was exceedingly pleasant in the mellow sunshine. As we approached a bench with a be-hatted native simultaneously basking and scribbling, it looked up, and turned out to be fello viola Nick Logie! He was staying in NY a bit longer, not only for the sponsors’ reception that evening, but because his eldest son Sascha is currently working in NY for the UN. Read the rest of this entry »
We’ll be posting the second part of Netty’s tour diary tomorrow, but in the meantime here are a selection of reviews from our trip across the pond.
Viola player Annette (known to many in the OAE as ‘Netty’) Isserlis made a diary of our recent tour to the US. Here’s days 1-3 with the rest following tomrorow. We hope to post some pics up soon too… A few additions from the blog editor in the brackets!
Mon Mar 14
Scene: Carluccio’s, outside Terminal 5, LHR.
Breakfast with husband Ken between red-eye flight in from Schipol (following 2 OAE concerts in Groningen and Nijmingen with Rachel Podger), and impending flight to USA: Ken to LA for solo concerts and Me to Boston with OAE and Sir Roger (Norrington), continuing the CPE Bachfest.
Dreadful news continuing to come through about the Japanese Disaster(s). Ken’s family all ok.
Painless flight to Boston followed by similarly painless Immigration, amazingly! It transpired that he chatty officer knew Yo-yo Ma personally….
Convivial dinner and bed not too early: it’s the only way to sleep through the 1st night, in my experience.
Read the rest of this entry »
Yesterday saw the Orchestra travel from Boston to New York for that evening’s concert at Lincoln Center – and it was also Sir Roger Norrington’s Birthday. At the Boston concert he was presented with this very appropriate T Shirt (we were playing the music of CPE Bach) which he proudly wore on the coach down to New York. A full report on the tour to follow soon, and if you’re in New York you can still catch the OAE when we combine with the London Sinfonietta tomorrow for a performance of Heiner Goebbel’s Songs of Wars I Have Seen tomorrow evening (18 March).
How does one reawaken a concert programme last performed, as was the situation with our first New York concert, some three weeks earlier? In the case of a conductor like Iván Fischer, with a mixture of playful concepts which help to unlock profound ideas; and, in the case of a slightly jet-lagged orchestra, by allowing us to be carried by the strength of the music and forget that an 8pm concert in New York is, in fact, a midnight concert in the UK (North America went over to summer-time a week earlier than Europe, so for that particular week there was only a four-hour time difference).
In London, the two programmes with Iván formed part of our Beethoven Cycle which is taking place this spring (2010). However, in New York, it was a very different kind of Beethoven cycle. The result of a brainchild, nurtured by Jane Moss (vice-president of programming at Lincoln Center) for the past six years, had Iván conducting all nine symphonies in four consecutive days; with OAE on original instruments for the first two concerts (symphonies 2 & 3 and symphonies 1, 8 & 5) followed with his own orchestra, the Budapest Festival Orchestra, on conventional instruments, also performing two concerts (symphonies 4 & 7 and symphonies 6 & 9). Unfortunately, OAE had to return home without hearing either the BFO rehearsals or concerts. However, members of the BFO did come to our second rehearsal and this provided an opportunity for a group photo featuring both orchestras. It was great to meet our Hungarian colleagues and a special pleasure for me to meet up again with Gaby, Iván’s wife and superb flute player. Read the rest of this entry »
Well I am back at Alice Tully Hall in the orchestra manager’s room typing this on day two of our trip to New York. Last night’s concert went really well, we had a standing ovation from the audience and the players and Iván were really pleased with it. After another New Yorker breakfast of waffles and fruit (very tasty!) with the girls from the Development team we have an open rehearsal this morning for the friends of the Lincoln Center. We also have some members of the Budapest Festival Orchestra (BFO) listening to the rehearsal, they are completing the Beethoven Symphony Cycle with us here. Iván called me into his dressing room this morning, he was very pleased as his ‘touring wardrobe’ had arrived with the BFO. A flight case complete with suit, iron, ironing board, baton drawer and coffee maker!
Our second and final concert is tonight, we will be performing symphonies nos. 1, 8 and 5. I’m hoping to sneak into the audience and listen for a bit tonight once I have done my backstage duties here as the hall is fantastic. Before that, I’ve got a bit of free time this afternoon so I think I’ll take in a few more of the sights – yesterday I managed to fit in Times Square, the Rockerfeller Centre, Grand Central station and ‘World of M&Ms’ – so tacky you couldn’t help but like it! So I’m going to head down to the southern tip of Manhatten and take the Staten Island ferry and see the Statue of Liberty.
I was very pleased to find out yesterday that our return flights for tomorrow were not cancelled (we are travelling on British Airways!!!) so the final instalment will come next week when we have arrived back in the UK.
Megan Russell, Projects Manager
(editors note – watch out for further NYC news from Nick Logie in the Orchestra very soon)
Megan, our Projects Manager, got an unexpected trip to NYC with the Orchestra this week. One of the violinists was unwell so we had a spare place, so after weeks of processing visa applications it was only fair that Megan got to go! Yesterday she sent us a quick report:
Well the orchestra is now safely installed and rehearsing. Philippa and I unloaded the van this morning with all the gear. We had a yummy NY breakfast of pancakes, bacon and eggs and maple syrup and then came back to the hall and the tech crew had done the set up for us. They are really great here, really friendly and seem to be on top of everything. Andrea and Lisa were here at 8am so met both of them. Will swing by the Empire (It is literally right across the road) (ed’s note – Empire is the hotel we usually stay at but was too expensive this time!), the Lucerne (the hotel we are at this time) is about a 10 minute walk and is quite nice. I’ll also go and check out ink48 too (another hotel we are checking out for our next trip here)
The gala event last night was fantastic. Everyone seemed to really enjoy themselves. Thompson Reuters put on a great dinner and the view was fab – on the 30th floor. The players presentation went really well, I think they were really pleased with it all. Hope all is well at mission control, say hi to the gang.
Philippa, our Orchestra Manager also emailed us a few pics:
It’s been a little while since we posted here – apologies. It’s not because nothings been happening at OAE towers, far from it, in fact I think quite the opposite! The Orchestra has been busy rehearsing for Tamerlano at the Royal Opera House. We had the final rehearsal on Tuesday (which is like a proper performance really) and all went well, though it’s hard work for the Orchestra – 3.5 hours of music! It’s a spectacular production, particularly if you’re fond of blue elephants (!), so do catch it if you can. First night is this Friday and details are here, togeher with a pic of the blue elephant.
You can also view a trailer for the production here.
Meanwhile we’ve also been rehearsing for the next concerts in our Beethoven Symphony Series – the next two concerts are with Iván Fisher (pictured rehearsing with us yesterday), and we’ll perform No’s 2&3 tonight at the Queen Elizabeth Hall and 1,8 & 5 at the Royal Festival Hall next Wednesday, the 10th. Then, at the end of the month we travel to New York City where we give the same two concerts at the Lincoln Center – Iván will also be conducting his own Budapest Festival Orchestra there in two concerts and between the two orchestras we’ll give a complete Beethoven symphony cycle. Reports from players and staff will of course appear here.
Meanwhile last week five of use from the office travelled up to Glasgow for the annual Association of British Orchestras concference – which this year focused on identity. More on that soon…
William Norris, Marketing Director
We seem to have done a few of these ‘smash and grab’ dates, as this type of trip is affectionately known, to New York recently. Those of the orchestra who really can’t stand the jet lag seem to avoid the trip so those who do go take it for what it is and we realise we are very lucky to be taken to exciting places, something most working people never do. And for me personally, my view is that I’ve done trips away to all kinds of undesirable places, so a(nother) chance to spend some time in this amazing “city that never sleeps” (with an Orchestra that hardly sleeps) is absolutely fine by me.
Anyway, as someone with young children it sometimes feels as though I’m in an extended state of jet lag. So if the worst bit is a couple of films and some kip then fine by me. On the outward flight I even got to sit next to a cello which didn’t fall asleep on me or even want to get out to go to the loo.