LA Phil Blog

2008 Asia Tour

Suntory Hall

"Amidst four-in-the-morning trips to Tsukijishijo to see the tuna auctions, visits to the Japanese countryside, Indian curry in Shinjuku, sushi lunches and binge-shopping on the Ginza, the Philharmonic has churned out two more world-class performances in Tokyo’s magnificent Suntory Hall, the second stop on our tour of the Far East. Sadly, this is our great Music Director’s last tour with the Los Angeles Philharmonic.

Suntory is the ‘sister-hall’ to Walt Disney, designed by the same phenomenal acoustician (Yasuhisa Toyota) responsible for our paragon of halls back home, with similar layout and characteristics. However, I noticed that the inside of the hall was this very interesting type of stone, in place of the wood paneling back home; as a result, Suntory is more live than Disney, and in rehearsal, treble-heavy. Our people sitting in the hall for the concert said the sound was balanced and rich, very lush.

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It’s TOUR TIME! As librarian for the orchestra, I’m now in a constant state of alert and orneriness, and spinning endless what-if scenarios in my mind to try and prepare for every situation, an affliction that I ascribe as PTS (pre-tour syndrome).…What if a musician forgets his part in a cab, what if a head of state decides to attend our concert, what if the conductor’s baton breaks, what if we unexpectedly need to open a program to honor someone famous, what if a soloist gets sick and cancels, what if we run out of encores, what if you get the idea. I’m not normally into doom and gloom, it’s just the PTS kicking in. And so, I pack extra music to take on the road such as the national anthems of every country we visit, additional scores and parts, substitute pieces, extra encores and batons, slow, beautiful, elegiac works, and whatever else I think appropriate to instantly pull out of the hat. So far thankfully I have not had to live out these imagined scenarios on tours though I’ve come very close to a few, just enough to not be able to rid myself of the PTS. As for my personal suitcase, I dread packing and will just throw a few things together and be done with it.

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