An Autumn to Remember- 28 Concerts in 78 Days

Posted By on November 25, 2007

It had once been my dream as a young man to tour the world, performing for enthusiastic audiences in the great concert halls. In my young and over-ambitious fantasy, I had an incredibly hectic and full touring schedule which never seemed to end. Ah, I was so young and naive.

However, this “over-ambitious” dream became reality this Autumn. Mind you, it`s not the first time I have experienced such an agenda, and I am by no means alone in such an accomplishment. Why even as I write this, hundreds of musicians- soloists, chamber groups and orchestras- are milling around in airports around the globe or delicately pacing out their day in a foreign city in order to be at peak performance by this evenings show (My wife, Kristina, has even just arrived in Hong Kong for her next project).

It all began in New York actually. I was on vacation and had just met up with my son, Trevor John, who was off to Penn State University. I had a couple of days remaining in Manhattan before my return to “the old country”. A busy period with the American Horn Quartet- read blogs “AHQ and Friends Perform at Memorial Concert for Dennis Brain” and “Autumn Tour Number 1- Austria, Switzerland, Germany” for details- and I was back in Luxembourg for rehearsals with the Philharmonic. Our tour took us back down to the South where we performed works by Schumann, Liszt, Brahms and Sibelius in some of the worlds most famous concert halls. This tour was beautifully organized and took us to Budapest, Vienna, Villach, Linz, Graz and Llubliana, Slovenia. While I was on the road with the orchestra, I made a side trip to Györ, Hungary. I had been asked to teach two days of masterclasses at the conservatory in that beautiful city with the strange sounding name. I heard some very accomplished horn players, not a big surprise, considering the famous school of brass playing in that country! The OPL returned home on October 25th, I repacked my suitcase, and was back in my seat with my seatbelt fastened, my tray table stowed and the back of my seat in the upright position by 10:00 am the next morning.

It was time for the long awaited US-Coast-to-Coast-Tour of the Virtuoso Horn Duo and Friends. Kristina and I were joined by my brother Kyle and our pianist, Lauretta Bloomer for a three-week recital tour which took us to New York (for rehearsals), New Jersey, Texas, Colorado, Kentucky, South Carolina, Arkansas and Oregon. You can read about the details on my blog called “Virtuoso Horn Duo and Friends US Tour”. There were a few glitches, almost all involving the abuse of authority at US airports, and I fell ill in Oregon (probably a stomach virus) but all in all, the tour was a cracking success! Each of the players performed very difficult repertoire consistently at the very highest technical and musical level. Indeed it was all I could do to keep up. Constantly nursing “my chops” and strenuously guarding my afternoon “power nap” and diet routine all helped to insure dependably high quality concerts. The four of us got along famously! There was never even a hint of a personality rub. I suppose touring all these years with the AHQ has taught me a few things, eh?

I did have one last concert to perform upon my arrival on November 16th back in Luxembourg. I was scheduled to play the Hindemith Octet, Ligetti 6 Bagatelles and the Spohr Nonet in the chamber music hall of the Philharmonie on the 18th.

But now it is all over and I am settling down to good old-fashioned orchestra work till Christmas. I started this odyssey at the end of August. It was still Summer time. I ended it last week and it had turned into Winter. The Amsterdam Airport was all decked out in Christmas decorations! I saw it turn into Fall and then into Winter from inside a bus, airplane and hotel room. Yep, it is time to slow down a bit.

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