For the fourth time I am going back to Chicago to play with the Grant Park Festival Orchestra. Sitting in one of these compared to Lufthansa rather old American Airline airplanes I am actually very much looking forward to my short stint with this highly motivated group in one of the most amazing open-air venues in the world; located right at Millenium Park the star architect (Disney Hall) Frank Gerry had built this very creative space in 2000 – about 20.000 people fit on the lawn in downtown Chicago looking at his eruptive shell while great arches over the lawn provide the greatest sound system I have experienced so far, righ before Hollywood Bowl, I dare say. Many little loudspeakers are attached to these arcs, so that at the very back of the lawn, maybe 200 m away from the stage, you hear almost better than right in front of it.
My 10-year-old son JÃ¡nos was crying today for minutes after dropping me off with his mother at the airport in San Juan. I had to fight with the tears as well, but in both our cases I don’t think it had much to do with the fact that I was parting earlier than them. We are so used to me parting for much longer than this one week which we are going to be separated this time that separation alone doesn’t move us anymore. It was much rather due to the fact that a beautiful time had come to an end.
Starting at around 9:30 pm this past Saturday my little streak of bad luck started with me taking a rare run on our treadmill. The only way I can be convinced to run on a thing like that is to watch some TV at the same time. There is no TV in the room with the treadmill, but a ladder, on which I genius-like placed my beautiful Macbook (the silver Apple-laptop) to watch some Seinfeld. 15 minutes into the show some vibration of my feet hammering this running-machine made the ladder tremble and my poor little Mac fell down, screen broken. I don’t mind being unlucky, but if it’s because of my own stupidity, I have a hard time forgiving myself.
Time flies, it is unbelievable – I had to get up this morning at 5:30 am in order to catch my flight back to the US at 6:50 (this is only possible in Berlin, since we have this lovely little city airport Tegel) which just has been cancelled, and it was already getting light when I was leaving my apartment at 5:50 am. Yes, it’s spring, and lazy me hasn’t written anything in here since a while. No, I wasn’t that busy, but I took a very welcome little break, skiing with my little family in Switzerland.
After the last concert in Italy â€“ Poggi del Sasso â€“ on July 17th I could have almost locked my cello up until end of August if it wasnâ€™t for this one concert on August 2nd at the festival in Hitzacker, where I have to play in three concerts all Bachsuites plus a Reger-Suite as part of a workshop at noon. Why did I agree to this single date in the middle of the school summer holidays?
Oh, this is so sad, my concert-free time between the Shostakovich No.2 in Halle on Feb 22 and the rehearsals in Amsterdam for Sinfonia Concertante which start on March 9 is almost over.
My German manager and friend Markus BrÃ¶hl told me today on the phone that finally I sounded happy again and wanted to know what the problem was before. Nothing, I replied, I was as miserable and sad as always 🙂 My situation is exactly the same like the weeks before, except that I am a bit nervous since I haven’t touched the cello for 6 days, and in 2 days there is a Haydn D Major in Nashville to play.
The last few days have been a reminder to me why I love so much what I am doing: to play a beautiful piece with an enthusiast orchestra and a very fine conductor while having time to do some outdoor activity and making new friends – what else could one want from life?
Since a while I started thinking of starting my own blog in order to get some more feedback from fellow musicians or general audiences about the way I see, feel and understand music making, the music “scene” or business as well as general things in culture. I have no idea if there is a real interest for this, but I thought I’d check it out and see what happens…