Backstage Pass

      "Orchestrating" a tour blog isn't the easiest thing in the world. But if we had an overriding theme that defines the kind of content we like to provide, it would be content that offers a unique perspective -- whether that's a European city through the eyes of one of our orchestra members, the way the LA Phil staff sees a pile of luggage or how the entire operation moves from Point A to Point B.

      How's this for a unique perspective -- an excited smile and wave from our own Music Director, Gustavo Dudamel, as he walks onstage to kick off the first of thirteen concerts that will eventually make up the 2011 European Tour.

      Or how about a glimpse of our Principal Concertmaster, Martin Chalifour, seconds before he walks onstage to tune the orchestra.

      The clips are short and shaky, but we pretty much guarantee that you won't see them anywhere else. Like we said, it's all about unique perspectives.


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      The First Concert!

      This is our third day here - I think - hard to tell because of the travel time to get here. Lisbon is a gracious city; hilly like San Francisco, with a suspension bridge that closely resembles the Golden Gate. It is paved in cobblestones, and peppered with little shops and very old churches and crowned with an 11th century castle from which the views are sweeping and astonishing.

      Yesterday, I walked probably 7 or 8 miles, getting my fill of brisk air and sunshine to help speed my adjustment to the 8-hour time change. The sights here are filled with history; of 14th century explorers and cartographers, ancient towers used to protect the city from invasion from the Tagus River shores, and statues of generals, kings and saints.

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      Reed All About It!

      I am typing at the break of our first rehearsal and think the orchestra sounds quite good this morning in spite of our jet lag!  Having awakened at 3:00am each of the two nights we have now been in Lisbon, it always gives one a bit of anxiety wondering how that first rehearsal will feel.

      Also, as an oboe player, I am never able to predict how my reeds (yes, we think of reeds constantly!) will react to the trip.  I have to try to gauge how to adjust them in my hotel room, hoping it will translate to the concert hall.  This is constantly a work in progress, especially on a tour such as this where we are traveling to many cities and will be in different hotels and playing on wildly different stages across Europe. These factors combined with the stress of flying, since the different altitudes have an effect on them, makes for interesting reed making.

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      Wide Awake In Lisbon

      I don’t get it. Slept great last night, had a good breakfast, practiced for three hours (apparently a little too much Adams), walked around town with our Principal Bassoonist, Whitney Crockett, got some dinner . . . did all the things one should do so that this doesn’t happen . . .

      Maybe I shouldn’t have had that bacalhao or pulpo, or that second helping of domada . . . or any of the seven duseuti the chef of that tiny tiled restaurant pile on a plate for six gregarious, ridiculously loud Americans. Oh man, were those good. And man, were we loud . . . My tour nickname, apparently, is Fisheye. Don’t ask.

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      Video: Gustavo on Bernstein and Beethoven

      As long as we're sharing videos related to the two programs that the LA Phil is taking on tour, we thought we'd include this one, filmed during our latest TalkBack -- our post-concert discussions that feature the conductor for that evening's program, members of the LA Phil, guest artists and a moderator (usually a music educator or musician). And, as you can see, a certain Music Director sometimes sticks around after the concert to take some questions from the audience.

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      Heading Out

      Buses in front of the Walt Disney Concert Hall

      Well, the orchestra is gone and we're all feeling some pangs of loneliness. Never fear, though -- here are some quick snaps we took yesterday of the musicians and staff boarding the buses that whisked them to LAX and, ultimately, to Europe to kick off the 2011 European tour! Next stop, Lisbon!

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      Gustavo and the LA Phil Rehearse Mahler

      As the orchestra is making its way to Lisbon, Portugal (via Frankfurt, Germany) for its first performance of the 2011 European Tour on Friday, we thought we'd remind European audiences of what they can expect when the LA Phil comes to town.

      To wit, here's a quick video of Gustavo and the LA Phil rehearsing one of the two programs they'll be performing on tour -- Mahler's majestic Ninth Symphony. Filmed in our own Walt Disney Concert Hall, this snippet from the symphony's first movement should be enough to excite fans of Gustavo, Mahler and the LA Phil alike. Enjoy!

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      The 2011 European Tour Is Here

      After months of preparation, rehearsals and logistical planning, the LA Phil finally hits the road today for its seven city, 13-concert tour of Europe today!

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      The orchestra's initial stop is Lisbon, Portugal where they'll play two concerts at Gulbenkian Hall, the first of which will be a program of works by John Adams, Leonard Bernstein and Ludwig van Beethoven. From there it's on to Madrid, followed by Cologne (where the orchestra will help Music Director Gustavo Dudamel celebrate his 30th birthday!), London, Budapest and finally Vienna.

      As fate would have it, just as the orchestra is ramping up to get out on tour and present the above program, the LA Phil, with Deutsche Grammophon, has just today released a recording of that very program on iTunes! You can download it here.

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      It's the Final Countdown!

      We're literally counting the seconds until the tour begins.

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      2011 European Tour Begins Next Week!

      European Tour T-Shirt Art

      We're excited to announce that we're mere days away from our 2011 European Tour! This seven-city, 13-concert whirlwind will take the orchestra to some of the grandest, most renowned concert halls throughout the Continent, beginning in Lisbon, Portugal and ending in the historic music capital of Europe, Vienna, Austria. The LA Phil will alternate between two signature programs, playing one per night in each of the seven cities (excpet for Madrid, where they're only playing one night and thus one program).

      We've listed below the tour schedule, as well as what program the orchestra will perform -- and, if you happen to find yourself in one of the cities while we're there, we've included a link to each hall the LA Phil is performing at. The info follows below:


      Program 1:
      ADAMS, Slonimsky’s Earbox
      BERNSTEIN, Symphony No. 1, “Jeremiah”
      BEETHOVEN, Symphony No. 7

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