LA Phil Blog


Magical Mahler in Vienna

Vienna, our last stop. Last night, playing in the Musikverein was magical. Thinking of Mahler in this same building was so inspiring.

The Vienna venue for the 2011 European Tour party -- seven cities, 13 concerts, 21 time to relax!
The Vienna venue for the 2011 European Tour party -- seven cities, 13 concerts, 21 time to relax!

The stage was very crowded for the 105 musicians needed for our last performance of Mahler 9 and I looked across the stage and saw some audience members standing by the bass players!! The backstage of this absolutely gorgeous hall was very confusing - the instrument trunks were on one level, the wardrobe trunks on another and the stage on yet one more. And the stairs!

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Vienna, At Long Last

Ah, Vienna!

A poster in Vienna announces the final concerts of the LA Phil's 2011 European Tour.

It's still cold, especially for us Angelenos, but the sun is out and should be for these last days of the tour. Last night was a special one - playing Mahler 9th in the hall where Mahler conducted - the Musikverein, one of the best, if not the best, in the world.

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And Now, A Word From Our Concertmaster

What an exciting prospect to be entering Vienna, the quintessential Musical Capital, after such a long time!

Martin Chalifour
You run into all sorts of people on tour - here's LA Phil Principal Concertmaster Martin Chalifour with legendary violinist Ivry Gitlis.

The famed city is the last stop on our tour and arguably the most important, one that my wife Nancy and I know well from our student years. We both studied here and have fond memories of the place.

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Pre-Show Anxiety in Vienna

I feel stressed about our concerts in Vienna.

Gustavo Dudamel rehearses
The LA Phil rehearses Mahler's Ninth at the world-famous Wiener Musikverein in Vienna, where Mahler himself performed.

The last time we played for an Austrian audience was in Salzburg, 1992. We were invited by Gérard Mortier, the new Artistic Director of the Salzburg Festival, to spend a month in residence and perform a series of concerts, including Olivier Messiaen's six-hour opera "Saint François d'Assise". For our opening concert, the first piece that we played for the Salzbergers was Johann Strauss' "Emperor Waltz". Esa-Pekka Salonen intended it as a thank you, an homage, to Austria and Austrians.

It was greeted with boos.

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To Trunk or Not To Trunk?

This blog entry isn’t about any particularly cool city on this tour. They are all cool. It is instead about getting my viola from point A to point B. As members of the Philharmonic we have two options with regards to our instruments. We can hand carry our instruments or we can “trunk” them. If we hand-carry them it means that we have them with us at every turn. Can you imagine the overhead bin space on a trans-Atlantic flight if over 100 musicians hand carried their instruments? Besides, that's not really an option for cellists, bassists or percussion players anyway.

Orchestra's Viola case
Violist Mick Wetzel's instrument - he 'trunked it' on the first leg of this tour after agonizing over the decision.

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