You are currently browsing the monthly archive for October 2014.

On Thursday, the IPO flew from Tokyo to the southern city of Fukuoka; a one hour 40 minute flight.

A rehearsal on Tchaikovsky, Mozart and Vivaldi was planned for 17:00 before the 19:00 concert.  We arrived at 14:00 to hear the good news that the rehearsal was canceled! Still there was barely enough time to nap before the concert… but still, the concert was a great success!

The audience wouldn’t let Mehta leave the stage and we played 2 encores; the “Death of Tybalt” from Prokofiev’s Romeo and Julliet, and “Intermezzo” from Cavalleria Rusticana. The audience was still applauding by the stage door as the orchestra returned to the buses.

For a late evening snack in Fukuoka, you can always go down to the river to sit outside for a ramen soup (chicken noodle) and barbeque plate.

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The Israel Philharmonic finished a week of concerts in Tokyo with programs at Suntory Hall, Ikebukuru and the NHK Concert Hall. Between rehearsals and concerts, players toured Nikko, the ancient capitol of Japan, Kamakura with the largest Buddha in the world, repaired instruments with local craftsmen, practiced in the hotel rooms, or rested for the rougher part of the Japan tour: Fukuoka, Osaka, Nagoya, Mie, and back to Tokyo.

At the NHK concert, Zubin signed the first page of the Tsunami Violin commemoration book along with the IPO players who are performing on the quartet in Japan. The emperor of Japan will sign the closing page. The NHK recorded the concert of Schubert and Mahler for later broadcast.

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“The Israel Philharmonic with its music director Zubin Mehta is Israel’s greatest cultural asset!” a wonderful compliment from the Israeli Ambassador to Japan, Ruth Kahanoff who attended the IPO concert in Suntory Hall.

Sunday afternoon’s concert of Vivaldi, Mozart and Tchaikovsky was simply a triumphant opening for the orchestra’s visit to Japan. Long after the IPO performed “The Death of Tybalt” as an encore, the audience remained in the hall applauding and hoping for another bow by Maestro Mehta…he didn’t disappoint them.

Immediately after the concert members of the orchestra, the impresario’s staff, diplomats, and the Indian Ambassador were guests of the Israeli embassy on the 36th floor of the ANA Intercontinental overlooking Tokyo. The cuisine was Japan/Israel; falafel and humous, next to sushi and sashimi; wine from the Golan and Goldstar beer.

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The Philharmonic returned to Japan for concerts in Tokyo at Suntory Hall, Bunka Kaikan and the NHK, Kukuoka, Osaka, Mie, Nagoya, then back to Tokyo.

Upon returning to Tokyo, the orchestra will join the Tokyo Ballet in 2 performances of Beethoven Ninth Symphony; musicians, soloists, choir and dancers all choreographed on one stage.

IPO is no stranger to Tokyo: nature hikes, shopping, sushi; just great!

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Musicians of the IPO joined in the Tsunami Violin Project, performing on a unique quartet of string instruments in Suntory Hall, Tokyo.

The Tsunami Violin Project was born in the aftermath of the tsunami which left behind vast destruction in March 2011, only months after the orchestra’s last tour to Japan. In addition to the devastation, 10,000 children were left homeless; 2,000 orphaned.

Violin maker Muneyuki Nakazawa built the quartet from wood torn from homes in the Tohoku region by the water. In a nearby forest only one tree was left standing, a symbol of the hope for renewal. When it succumbed to the salt water a year later, its image was preserved on the instruments, and its wood used to make bass bars and sound posts for the quartet.

The organizers are planning 1000 performances on the instruments; a Japanese tradition of 1000 good wishes. Proceeds of fund raising go to allow child victims of natural disasters to recover through music education.

The instruments will be played in Suntory Hall, Tokyo, in all of the orchestra’s appearances in Japan and in broadcasts for the NHK.

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The IPO flew from Bangkok to Ulsan, South Korea. Ulsan is not your usual cultural center, but it does have the largest car manufacturing factory in the world (Hyundai), and the largest shipyard in the world (again…Hyundai).

The concert of Vivaldi, Schubert and Tchaikovsky was the main attraction of the cultural season, but it was also a special gift to the people at Hyundai. Tomorrow morning the ship will be christened.

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The Far East Tour of the IPO began with a return visit to the Bangkok Festival of Dance and Music under the patronage of the Queen of Thailand.

The symphonic part of the concert was Mozart’s Linz Symphony and Gustav Mahler’s Fifth Symphony. Opening the concert was  a special treat for the audience, Vivaldi’s concerto for 4 violins performed as Vivaldi probably first heard it, with 4 women of the orchestra playing the solo parts; Saida Barlev, Genia Pikovsky, Sharon Cohen and Polina Yehudin.

Vivaldi was the violin instructor and resident composer at Ospedale della Pieta in Venice; an orphanage where boys learned trades and young women learned violin. Many of his ensemble pieces were written for his students.

A string ensemble composed entirely of gentlemen from the orchestra and led by Maestro Mehta accompanied the ladies in the concerto.

If four queens for one concert are not enough, the Queen of Thailand also came on stage and presented Maestro Mehta and the orchestra with a gift of flowers; 5 Queens in one concert!

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Three weeks ago the Israel Philharmonic returned from Budapest after 13 days in Siberia, the Baltic Countries and Eastern Europe; yesterday we landed in Bangkok for the beginning of the Far East tour.

In between, we performed at Israel Music Week’s final concert and opened the IPO’s 79th Season with concerts of Ein Heldenleben and Mahler Second Symphony, “The Resurrection.” In all, we managed to squeeze in 13 rehearsals and 9 concerts.

Denis Matsuyev, who was our host at the “Star of the Baikal Festival” in Siberia, was the soloist in Rachmaninov’s Third Piano Concerto. At his final concert in Tel Aviv, the “Jeans” season opener, he also improvised a jazz encore!

Between Europe and the Far East, Tel Aviv was a nice stopover.

The month’s tour includes appearances in Bangkok, South Korea, Japan, Singapore and China. After landing in Bangkok, musicians had to choose between “foot massage” or “food massage” before sleeping off some jet lag. First rehearsal; 10:00 in the morning.

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