Sitting on the train that will bring me to my first performance of the beautiful cello concerto by Unsuk Chin this year in Hamburg I started thinking about contemporary cello concertos and the fact that none has really made it into the standard repertoire (and I am not talking 20 or 30 performances, but hundreds). Commuting back and fourth between Berlin and Hamburg between the rehearsals and now the concert – my oldest son had all his wisdom teeth removed at once, and I didn’t want him to be alone at home with that challenge – it gives me some time to not only read the „Zeit“ and take care of old e-mails but also write a bit after more than a year of abstinence.
I almost continued the Mahler-blog which would have become a text far too long, stopped myself just in time to give my last appearance in Portland as artist in residence extra space, especially as I had some rather moving experiences… A small week of holidays in Sardinia gave me back enough strength for a 15-day-trip to the US, playing a trio concert with my wife and Justin Brown in Birmingham Alabama, Haydn C Major in Portland and Rococo in San Diego. Most importantly, after a 17-hour-trip from Alabama to Portland, I finished off my artist-in-residency with the Oregon Symphony, and this third year was maybe the most meaningful of them all, as I not only met friends I had made the past trips but I played for a big variety of audiences during my well-filled week.
For four weeks I have not touched the cello, and I didn‘t miss it at all. I don‘t remember the last time I had such a long time off, but I most certainly enjoyed myself, spending lots of quality time with the little baby, went skiing with my big boy for a week, back home doing the household, cooking and keeping work off my wife who had fought so hard since giving birth that she deserved to not having to worry for anything in the house. Why didn‘t I write in the past six months especially as I had kept the autumn rather free for me experiencing this time the first few months of my sons life which I missed with my first son? When he was born I lived with his mother in New York and concertized mainly in Europe and I really only remember very few things about his first months. This time around it is completely different although I have been away more than I would have liked to.