John Adams and Gustavo share a moment backstage at the Barbican Centre. John just led the LA Phil New Music Group in his Son of Chamber Symphony and has passed the baton off to Gustavo, who is ready to conduct Unsuk Chin's Graffiti and Josesph Pereira's "Concerto for Percussion and Chamber Orchestra."
This is why we go on tour.
We go on tour to promote the orchestra. We go on tour to play in front of audiences that might not have the chance to see us otherwise. We go on tour to play a program that leaves everyone saying "Wow - that's a program that only the LA Phil would play."
Our young musicians from YOLA have had a busy few days - on top of traveling to London to participate in the Future Play symposium at the Barbican Centre, they've also had to rehearse, meet new friends and basicallly do all the things you'd expect of young people who are traveling to London for the first time. Added bonus? Some of them got to see snow fall for the first time.
Here they are - with 90 of their fellow young musicians from London El Sistema-based programs - rehearsing for the Discover Dudamel event.
We've mentioned already how jam-packed the orchestra's schedule is on any given tour. After all, playing 11 concerts in four cities on two continents would be challenging for even the most adept tour planners - but when you toss a staged two-hour production of a brand-new oratorio into the mix, as well as an educational symposium that spans three days at the outset of the tour...well, then you're getting into "crazy busy" territory, especially when you ask orchestra members and your Music Director to go on the radio to promote your concerts.
The LA Phil's road crew - (from l-r) Jesse Kolouch, Production Director Paul Geller, Alex Quintanar and Chris Duarte (not pictured - Production Manager Jeff Wallace)
Putting a tour together takes work. It's not all standing ovations and sightseeing - it's WORK. Travel schedules are brutal, rehearsal times short and hotel checkouts early. And, indeed, when the orchestra arrives in a location, the road crew has likely gone ahead of them to make sure the aforementioned time crunches affect the performances as little as possible.
A typical LA Phil tour has a lot of components. Not only does the orchestra play concerts in varied cities in equally varied destinations, but there's also - as befits an orchestra with a Music Director like ours - often an educational component to the proceedings. In 2011, members of the LA Phil stopped by the Barbican Centre to lead a master class or two; in 2012, the entire orchestra traveled to Caracas to see Gustavo's El Sistema in action; and now, in 2013, the orchestra is evolving yet again as members of our very own Youth Orchestra Los Angeles (YOLA) travel to London to participate in the LA Phil co-hosted (along with the Barbican Centre and Take A Stand) Future Play Symposium.
Audiences in Europe and New York aren't the only ones excited for the LA Phil's 2013 Tour - Music Director Gustavo Dudamel is eager to hit the road with an especially "LA Phil-esque" repertoire of some 20th century favorites as well as some newerworks. We'll let him tell the rest of the story:
Despite what you might think, it’s not that easy to pack up a 105-member orchestra, complete with instruments and wardrobe, and move them approximately 12,500 miles in three weeks time.
It's especially tricky when you consider the fact that the orchestra is taking a staged production – John Adams’ The Gospel According to the Other Mary – to four cities on two continents, in addition to its more expected orchestral fare such as Stravinsky’s Firebird and Debussy’s La mer.
It’s the time of year when cellos, basses and percussion are packed into road cases, when instrument cases are lovingly carried onto airplanes, when the orchestra staff scrambles to make arrangements and the LA Phil heads out on the road to take its unique brand of innovative, daring and classic programming to audiences worldwide.
Gustavo Dudamel, Deborah Borda and Maestro Abreu in Caracas
Sunday night at about 6:30 PM the LA Phil flight back from Caracas touched down at LAX. At that precise moment, an enormous cheer went up from the entire orchestra and staff.
People cheered not simply because they were glad to be home but truly in celebration, pride and recognition of making history. It was a moment in which our LA Phil “family” acknowledged they had just pulled off one of the most audacious and challenging projects in recent symphonic history. The Mahler Project: 9 Symphonies/2 orchestras/one Gustavo.
Today's the day that Gustavo leads the LA Phil, the Simón Bolívar Symphony Orchestra of Venezuela and a literal cast of thousands in the gargantuan Mahler 8, the "Symphony of a Thousand," live from Caracas!
Of course, you don't have to be IN Caracas to see it - you can head on over to your local cineplex and see it in HD from the comfort of your very own movie theater seat. It's the second installment of LA Phil LIVE, and it promises to be a movie-going experience like no other.