Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Tour preparation

We are about to embark upon a two-week tour.

Our itinerary includes concerts in Bloomington, Indiana, Miami, Ann Arbor, Chicago, New York and Newark. The concert venues range from Carnegie Hall to Indiana University's Jacobs School of Music.

The Orchestra usually offers two or three different programs for concert presenters.  This time one concert includes Ein Heldenleben, while the other is Bartok's Music for Strings, Percussion and Celeste.

There is often a soloist who travels with us.  This time it's Pierre-Laurent Aimard (photo on left). Aimard is one of the most accomplished pianists playing today.  He can play just about anything!  He will join us for Schumann's Piano Concerto and the Bartok 2nd Piano Concerto.

The Bartok is known as one of the most difficult concertos written for the piano. It will be fun to hear him assay this piece!

But this post is about what we do to prepare for a tour.

Foreign tours involve more preparation than domestic ones, but this one presents some unusual challenges.

First of all, we must pack clothing for both warm and cold weather. Prescriptions that may run out during the trip need to be filled in advance, bills paid, etc. I think touring is tougher for those of us without spouses or partners. Pets and children must be cared for while we're away, mail held, etc.

Musical preparation is also underway. By this weekend we will have rehearsed and performed all of the repertoire to be taken on the road. There is minimal rehearsal time during a tour, so everything must be in place. It's not unusual to have just a sound check before a concert in a new location on tour -- or even just play the concert without any chance to check out the hall.

Along with the parts I've been assigned to play, I'm understudying all the principal parts that John Clouser will play in case he's indisposed. I will take my own copies of the parts along to practice.

I'll also take my reed tools and extra reeds to break in, etudes to practice and excerpts to prepare for the masterclasses I'm giving at the Manhattan School of Music and Roosevelt University.

I'll continue this thread in another posting in a day or so.  I'll try to get some photos to upload of our preparation. . .

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