LA Phil Blog


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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(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.

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Bringing It All Back Home – Lionel in Paris

Bonjour et Bienvenue à Paris!!!

Salle Pleyel

Salle Pleyel, where the LA Phil played its two concerts in Paris, and where LA Phil Associate Conductor Lionel Bringuier grew up going to concerts while studying at the Conservatoire National Supérieur de Musique de Paris.

I’m really excited to be here with the orchestra! Four years ago I came from Paris to Los Angeles and was hired by the orchestra as Assistant Conductor. Later on that season, I happened to be in Paris during their tour in November 2007, and was incredibly happy to see my new family on stage in Salle Pleyel. Now, it is with much joy that I am here again with the orchestra as Associate Conductor and to see them perform on this stage.

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Ah, Paris – C’est Magnifique!

Bonjour from Paris! This is day 14 of our 20 days away from Los Angeles. For those of us who have been in the orchestra for several years, there is a familiarity with performing in this city.

LA Phil rehearses

The LA Phil rehearses at the Salle Pleyel in Paris.

In 1996, the year I joined the orchestra, we had a one-month residency which reignited the push to build Walt Disney Concert Hall. We performed the Rite of Spring with Esa-Pekka and the Paris audience absolutely loved it. The Rite went on to become one of our signature pieces, which we later performed for the opening concert at Walt Disney Concert Hall.

In 2007 we played at the Salle Pleyel and stayed in the same hotel as we are currently in. We performed the Sibelius symphonies with Esa-Pekka.

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Trailing Spouses

Toby, my husband, has just arrived in Paris for the remainder of our tour. He refers to himself as the "trailing spouse" - those husbands, wives, partners, and significant others who accompany orchestra members during tours. They have the advantage of enjoying all the sights, sounds, and tastes of the cities we travel to, but without the added responsibilities of performing. We have a number of family members with us on this tour; the European cities we are visiting this time are hard to pass up.

The LA Phil arrived in Paris on Saturday and plays its second concert tonight, has a long-awaited free day tomorrow and leaves for Budapest on Wednesday.

The last time Toby was in Paris with me was during the Philharmonic's residency here in 1996. We had been married just 3 years and reveled in the romance of the city.

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