It is a truly wonderful thing to play with the LA Phil, but playing with this orchestra on a European tour is even better, in my opinion. Musically, everything has been completely exciting and beautiful. The fact that before concerts I get to explore Europe's treasures means I am constantly full of inspiration before I even step on stage.
I was able to visit seven galleries/museums in London (and we're not even done there!). These included the National Gallery, the National Portrait Gallery, the Photographers' Gallery, the Serpentine Gallery (in Hyde Park, where the leaves are all golden), the Tate Modern, the Courtauld Institute of Art, and the Victoria & Albert Museum; they were all fantastic! One funny thing: a favorite painting of mine, Manet's Bar at the Folies-Bergére, was recently exhibited at the Getty Center in L.A., and sadly, I did not get to see it at the time. So, I was thrilled to find it at the Courtauld, its permanent home!
Here in France, I've been to the Louvre twice...so far. I have plans for the next few days, though. I am particularly looking forward to the Picasso and Rodin museums, and, of course, the Musée d'Orsay. I adored the works by Georges de la Tours at the Louvre.
In Spain, we spend one measly day in Madrid. Luckily, my friend, our principal oboist Ariana Ghez, and I will stay on a bit, so we can visit the Prado!