Welcome to the Tour Blog for the Pittsburgh Symphony’s 2017 European Festivals Tour! We’ll be posting regular updates of life on the road, featuring the work of our intrepid photographer Todd Rosenberg. Check back for reports from each city, and to hear from orchestra members. You can also follow along with #PGHsymphonytour on all our social media.
Our first post finds your Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra traveling from Pittsburgh to lovely Wiesbaden, Germany, home of the Rheingau Musik Festival.
The orchestra, including violinist Ellen-Chen Livingston, said goodbye to their friends and family at Pittsburgh International Airport on Friday afternoon.
We checked in with our friendly Delta agents, which sparked our a story from our first guest blogger, flutist Lorna McGhee:
“I was not intending to start writing the blog posts until we had actually left the country, but something magical happened at the airport, and I wanted to share it with you! As violist Tatjana Mead Chamis and I were waiting at check-in, an airport employee (Eric, a part-time ramp agent) noticed our instrument cases and asked if we were with the Pittsburgh Symphony. He was happy to know we were touring with the orchestra and shared a wonderful story with us…
“Many years ago, he had been on holiday in Barcelona and was walking through the old part of town. He saw a sign for a Pittsburgh Symphony concert that night, and feeling a sense of loyalty and Pittsburgh pride, decided to buy tickets for himself and a friend. He didn’t know quite what to expect. Lorin Maazel was conducting. It was a huge crowd. They went nuts and the orchestra had to play four encores! It was an eye-opening experience and one that gave him a sense of how much Pittsburgh Symphony is embraced internationally. He said it gave him a deeper appreciation for his own hometown orchestra and made him proud to be a Pittsburgher. Afterwards he enjoyed exchanging some words of ‘yinzer’ with the musicians as they left the concert hall! Thank you Eric, for this beautiful send-off. We will try to make Pittsburgh proud!
Associate Conductor Francesco-Lecce Chong and violinist Zhan Shu made their way to our gate.
©Rocky Esposito 2017
Meanwhile, our 86 trunks full of instruments and gear left Pittsburgh on a separate cargo plane.
Violist Stephanie Tretick cheerfully boards our flight from Atlanta to Frankfurt.
Cellists Bronwyn Banerdt and Mikhail Istomin took a break to stretch and socialize somewhere over the Atlantic.
We had barely landed in Frankfurt when the orchestra began studying their parts on the bus ride to Wiesbaden.
© Todd Rosenberg 2017
Zach Smith and members of our horn section gathered for a breakfast meeting at the hotel.
Meanwhile, our staff got together for a meeting with our travel and logistics team.
Cellist Anne Martindale Williams immediately found a sheet music sale on the streets of Wiesbaden.
Our cargo truck stopped by the hotel so musicians could be reunited with their instruments.
Horn player Zach Smith and guest trumpet Micah Wilkinson found an empty conference room to practice in.
Flutist Rhian Kenny and violinist Lorien Benet Hart found a local 5k race to join. It’s never too early to start training for the Pittsburgh Marathon!
Bass Aaron White and English horn Harold Smoliar enjoyed a beer at one of Germany’s many breweries. Prost!
Tomorrow, we rehearse and perform at Das Kurhaus concert hall with violinist Anne-Sophie Mutter, then it’s on to Salzburg!