One thing I particularly like about being in the ACO is relinquishing my limited organisational powers to people far more managerial than I.
About a week before each tour, a brightly coloured schedule appears in my pigeonhole (or, increasingly, pops up on my iPad), dictating my every movement for the upcoming weeks. The only downside to this system is that my planning muscles are no longer exercised, so when I was asked to write a blog about our upcoming European tour I realised my knowledge of our itinerary was shockingly scant. What better reason to look ahead in my lovely lime green schedule and find out what’s in store for me over the next three weeks?
This tour will be the ACO’s first trip to Finland. As so many of our lovely guests (and two of our own principal musicians) come from this over-achieving nation, it will be great to finally reciprocate and perform in Helsinki and Espoo. We will be performing with Olli Mustonen, triple-threat musician and long-time collaborator with the ACO, and rumour has it that the audiences will be filled with the families of Tipi and Satu and old ACO collaborators like Pekka Kuusisto, Paavali Jumppanen and members of the Meta4 String Quartet. I’m sure it will be a great first time!
Having said that, I can tell you that I am both physically and psychologically underprepared for weather in Helsinki. Tipi [ACO Principal Cellist] assures me however that the biting cold and rainy days make it the perfect time of year for an ocean swim. He has grand plans for the whole orchestra to experience this Finnish tradition and I have to say I am tempted! The swim will be preceded and followed by a sauna, but with the water temperature sitting at around 4oC, watch this space to see how many of us take the plunge…
My very first performance with the ACO was in London back in 2012 and at the time I found the city overwhelming. I have been fortunate to return numerous times with the orchestra, and have gradually fallen in love with London. I can’t wait to perform in the Royal Festival Hall, stroll through the National Portrait Gallery and the Tate, and catch up with old friends – preferably at one of Ottolenghi’s many restaurants.
The music we are taking on this tour is varied and ambitious. No matter how many times we play Beethoven’s Grosse Fugue it is always an endurance test! That being said, I relish the challenge. Having our old Principal Violist – Chris Moore – along for the ride will also make the experience doubly special.
I have never been to Vienna or Zurich before, so I look forward to discovering these cities with the advantage of the ‘ACO hive mind’ – someone always knows where to find the best coffee or the most beautiful walks. I look forward to reporting back on these two cities after the tour is complete!
Our 2017 European Tour begins next week with a performance at Royal Festival Hall in London.