(Not) Groundhog Day

(Not) Groundhog Day

(Note: LA Phil Principal keyboardist Joanne Pearce Martin wrote this entry on February 1st, 2011; however, we think you'll agree it's perfect to publish today.)

Tomorrow is “Groundhog Day”. For those of you unfamiliar with the movie, the protagonist wakes up each day, faced with the same recurring events, repeated ad infinitum. To the uninitiated, touring with a symphony orchestra might seem like Groundhog Day: Eat, Travel, Sleep, Wake up, Practice, Perform. Repeat.

Olivier Messiaen's organ

A necessary pilgrimage for any keyboardist - Olivier Messiaen's organ at Église de la Sainte-Trinité.

But touring with the LA Phil is anything but that. Each day brings forth new sounds, new smells, new sights, and an air of exuberance for the new city to be faced.

Each performance is a unique experience, shaped by the hall, and also by the vibe of the surrounding city and its audience. We’ve been playing to packed houses, and the crowds’ enthusiasm has been palpable and infectious. The audience in Paris’ Salle Pleyel responded to Bernstein’s “Jeremiah” Symphony, by clapping in rhythm, reminiscent of a sporting event - and it was only intermission! After the Beethoven 7, there were too many curtain calls to count. What a privilege to be a part of these experiences with Gustavo & the LA Phil - to jointly embrace the beauty and power of great music.

Today’s free day in Paris was memorable – a stroll by Chopin’s house, escargot and crepes for lunch, a visit to Sainte-Trinité, (the church where Olivier Messiaen played the organ for over 60 years), and a very special French dinner with friends. I’d be tempted to repeat this day over and over again, but, like Punxsutawney Phil, I’m looking forward to greeting the new day tomorrow morning. I predict that we will rise to new heights in the cities ahead – Budapest and Vienna!