LA Phil Blog

Madrid

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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The Tour So Far — A Painter’s View

Plaza a Luis de Camoes in Lisboon
A view from the Plaza a Luis de Camoes in Lisboon - watercolor painting by Caitlin Heimerl.

On this tour, I'm traveling with my niece, Caitlin Heimerl. She is a recent graduate of Rhode Island School of Design, and she is loving the opportunity to paint in all of the beautiful cities we are visiting on this tour.

After visiting the castle in Lisbon, we found the Plaza Luis de Camões and stopped to paint as the sun was setting.

In Madrid, after a morning at the Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía, which houses Picasso's "Guernica," and a walk through the cobblestone streets of the city, we found a lovely fountain on Paseo del Prado. In spite of the cold, Caitlin pulled out her watercolors to paint there in the early evening.

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Free Day In Madrid!

Musicians all over the world know each other, so it is a happy coincidence that I am able to meet my friend Anne, who I've known since junior high school, on tour with her orchestra. The Maggio Musicale Fiorentino with Zubin Mehta is playing tonight in the same hall as we did last night. In fact in Madrid this week is a venerable quartet of transplanted Angelenos: Mehta, Placido Domingo, James Conlon and Gustavo Dudamel. Heady company, indeed.

LA Phil in Madrid
Gustavo leads the LA phil in rehearsal for the single concert in Madrid. After performing Mahler's Ninth Symphony, those on tour enjoyed a much-deserved day off in Spain's capital city.

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Travel Day – Lisbon to Madrid

Lisbon was fascinating.  A beautiful city, rich in history and culinary delights.  I could easily spend several weeks exploring its winding, cobbled streets and diverse cultural offerings.

Luggage at the airport
A long luggage queue, courtesy of the LA Phil, awaits its spot on a plane from Lisbon to Madrid. Despite problems with the luggage tag printer, all bags arrived safe and sound in Madrid.

However, it is not to be as this morning we are en route to Madrid.  I'm traveling with my fourteen-year-old son, Keith, who is finding the food challenging but enjoying the sights.  We'll squeeze in a trip to the Prado Museum on Sunday afternoon, then Mahler 9 for me and homework for him.  After that, we head out for some authentic Spanish Flamenco, sangria and last, but not least, a good night's sleep!

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