Wednesday brevia
1 Jun 2011
Inside the Classics

I know, I know, I’ve been a terrible blogger lately – I’ve been in the final push of the season with some of the heaviest repertoire and complicated shows, and now I’m in the final week of preparation before I leave for 2 months on tour with Sting.

Some random thoughts for you this Wednesday morning:

I spent a great week in Tampa/St. Pete/Clearwater with the Florida Orchestra last week, a redux of the 80′s Rewind concert I did with the Minnesota Orchestra two weeks previous. TFO plays in three different venues in three different towns, and it was a powerful reminder to me of the tremendous challenges of logistics and acoustics when you’re going from hall to hall on a regular basis. Rehearsals took place in 2 of the 3 venues, so Sunday evening’s soundcheck (for the band and singers, NOT the orchestra) was the only chance I had to hear what the third hall sounded like until downbeat of the opening number. Working with amplification and orchestra is always a struggle, and even more so when you have to make adjustments on the fly every night – reminded me how lucky I am to spend a majority of my time working with an orchestra who owns their own hall!

I had a weekend off last week where I got enjoy not one but two separate orchestra concerts, one across the river with the Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra (featuring oboist Heinz Holliger in a pair of unusual pieces – the Carter Oboe Concerto and Martin’s Three Dances) and one back in Orchestra Hall – Osmo’s Mahler 6. It’s always interesting to hear orchestras from an audience perspective when I’m so accustomed to hearing them from the podium. It helps to get a sense of the blend in the hall – it’s tremendously tricky to have a knack for knowing how what transpires on stage will carry. A lot of it is a matter of trial and error, but I do try to hear my MNOrchers at least once a month when I’m not working.

This week has been all about prepping for my tour with Sting – I fly out on Saturday for our first show, in Bucharest. 34 cities in 37 days, with a 4-day jag to San Francisco for me in the middle of July. I’ll try to post regularly and keep everyone updated on all the goings-on; private plane, here I come!

And finally, apropos of nothing….well, not exactly true. My buddy Ben Folds, who’ll be rejoining us in Orchestra Hall in September, sent me this video, and I’ve just been obsessed by its silliness:

<April 2020>

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