Not even a flood can stop Gustavo and the LA Phil! The new Schermerhorn Hall in Nashville sustained serious damage in last week's weather catastrophe and cannot be used again until major repairs are completed. For a few days it seemed our concert would have to be cancelled. However, we hung in there with the great folks from the Nashville Symphony because we all believe passionately in the power of music when times are tough. Amazingly, the persistent music-lovers in Nashville came up with an alternate (though not ideal) hall and asked if we would be willing to play in it. Not only were we willing, but our musicians took up a collection among themselves that added up to close to $7000; Gustavo and Jean Yves Thibaudet matched that, and our Association will give back a portion of our fee.
Chicago is my home town, and yesterday was one of the three or four days a year with crystal-clear breezy skies and ideal temperature. I treated myself to several hours visiting "old friends" in the Art Institute's impressive Impressionist collection - unrivaled anywhere (well, maybe Paris). I couldn't stay indoors too long. It was just too beautiful outside. I met up with Mitch Newman for a trip to the Hancock Building's 94th floor Observatory. The visibility was 70-80 miles! Before the acoustic rehearsal, I'd had dinner with my dad, who has been the Chicago Symphony's Principal Bassist for 49
years. I come by my profession honestly.
Playing on the stage at Orchestra Hall is a very nostalgic experience for me. In high school, I was the Concertmaster of the Youth Orchestra of Chicago, and all of our performances and many rehearsals were on that stage. I fondly remember Civic rehearsals conducted by some of the Symphony's principal conductors- including Georg Solti and Carlo Maria Giulini (who ultimately hired me to play in the LA Phil in 1981).
It's so great to be home in Chicago! Last night I had dinner with my mother, brother, and sister at my sister's condo off Lake Shore Drive. Her building overlooks Wrigley Field, and as I write this today, I'm glancing over at the Cubs vs Pirates game which is now tied at 6 -- biting my nails!
Earlier today, I ran into Shelley Bovyer and Patty Kindel at the Art Institute, as well as Meredith Snow and Ingrid Hutman in the Impressionist galleries.
My sister and I stopped at Millennium Park, and the Pritzker Pavillion which is the home of the Grant Park Orchestra in the summertime, and where my husband Fritz has played tuba for over 25 years. Also a trip to Cloudgate sculpture, which we call the 'bean'.
Tonight we play at Symphony center, and my friends and family will all be there...can't wait!
Touring is a time of great excitement, intensity and fun on stage and off. It is a time when I get to know my colleagues through sharing powerful experiences. On the last tour (Esa-Pekka Salonen's last) to the far east, we played repertoire which had become our old friends, our signature pieces. After seventeen years with Esa-Pekka I knew what to expect at each performance. I did a lot of hiking in national parks in Seoul, Korea and a rainforest in the middle of Singapore when we had free days. On this US tour, we have played three concerts so far, and each one has been a big learning experience; getting to know the meaning of Gustavo's motions, giving him the flexibility he wants at the moment; really learning to dance with him. Each concert is a powerful statement and it's thrilling to grow together quickly and passionately. The houses are sold out, the audiences are cheering, and we are satisfyingly exhausted after each performance knowing we have given our all!
We flew into Chicago from Phoenix today. Concert last night went well; the audience was very enthusiastic and vocal...almost rowdy! Symphony Hall in Phoenix is right down the street from Chase Field, home of the Diamondbacks. Fans were arriving for a game as we were coming to the hall for the concert. I remarked to a friend how funny it would be if the Dodgers were in town the same night the Phil is next door playing a concert. Turns out that the Dodgers were in fact there! What are the chances?
I feel very sentimental coming to Chicago and playing in this hall. It's my hometown and I grew up hearing the CSO, and playing on this stage. It's always great to be back.
On the agenda tomorrow: early morning run along the lakefront; time with family and friends; concert; Uno's for post-concert pizza.