After arriving back from China the RLPO were having a well earned rest from the 8th to 22nd October. Not for me, however. They say there is no rest for the wicked, after all!
Good to get home to give this guy some fuss!
The day after arriving back I had to forget all about any thoughts of jet lag and get myself from home in Liverpool to Oxford to take part in the Oxford Contemporary Music Festival. The work I would be playing was part of on ongoing UK tour celebrating the work of pioneering electronica composer Delia Derbyshire.
I would be joining the ‘Delia Darlings’ to play a piece by international award winning composer Ailis Ni Riain. Ailis, for whom I have given several world premieres had written a very exciting but extremely challenging work for solo trumpet and acoustic double bass called ‘The Consequences of Falling’ commissioned by the Arts Council of england two years ago. Geth Griffiths (double bass) and I have been touring with this piece ever since.
My simple rail journey from Liverpool to Oxford and back required 10 tickets in total. Amazing really for such a simple trip. Our sound and lighting check/rehearsal was due to take place at 4pm. I boarded my train around midday without problems. I changed at Birmingham New Street with three minutes to spare. The destination board said my train to Oxford was waiting at platform 10A. I raced down there; shouted to the guard, Oxford?!’ She said yes. I boarded, the train set off. The guard came down immediately and checked my ticket. Off she went. By the time the train arrived at Cheltenham Spa, I thought ‘unusual but the train must be doing a wide circuit to Oxford’. By the time the train arrived in Wales at Chepstow, I smelt a rat and raced down to the guard compartment in a blind panic. She thought I was going to change somewhere for Oxford and realised she had been wrong because my ticket didn’t allow for a change!
This evening, Ruth and I from the RLPO played to a packed house at the spectacular ‘Sefton Park ‘Palm House. The Liverpool Gin Festival, hosted impeccably by Liverpool Distillery Ltd. Fabulous!
Sometimes some work comes along which makes it all such a pleasure! This evening, Ruth Davies and myself, from the RLPO went along to the Palm House in Sefton Park, Liverpool to play some classical stuff for Liverpool Distillery’s ‘Gin Party in the Palm House’. Continue reading
Liverpool Philharmonic Hall is currently closed for a major rebuilding and refurbishment programme. The Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra are therefore playing in a large variety of venues elsewhere as a result. Quite apart from playing in Dublinrecently, visiting London twice (The BBC Proms and for a Classic fm Spectacular – both at the Royal Albert Hall), Malvern, Perth and two performances at the Cardiff Proms, we are busier than ever. As it happens, the RLPO often tours internationally at this time of year. This year we are off to China to visit six major cities along the East Coast of that huge country.
The orchestra is, of course, no stranger to China, having recently visited in 2010. That year saw us play at the World Expo, plus three other concerts in Shanghai and two further performances in Beijing. The performance at the World Expo was of particular relevance for us as Liverpool was represented there, and the RLPO performed one performance in that pavilion, with The Scaffold, Six Toys and Orchestral Manoeuvres In The Dark.
After a free evening for all in Guanzhou, it was bright early for breakfast at the hotel and a whole symphony orchestra outside on the street, awaiting the arrival of three buses to take us to Shenzen. Shenzen is about 123 km/ 85 miles to the East of Guangzhou and is one of the economic miracles of the world, just to the north of Hong Kong.The area became China’s first—and one of the most successful—Special Economic Zones (SEZs). Shenzhen has a population of approximately 15 million.
The tour lorry doing the get in at the brand new Nanshan concert hall in Shenzen
Jools Mottram just saying goodbye to the workers at our favourite Guangzhou eaterie prior to catching the coach for the next leg of our journey
After the rather leisurely pace of the last three days in Guangzhou, it felt like a rude awakening to wake up to have all cases and passports ready by 8.30am in the hotel lobby! We departed Guangzhou for Suzhou. I was quite looking forward to this leg of the tour. I had discovered that Guangzhou is known as the place for food in China, Suzhou is called the Venice of the Orient. This portion of the tour was half way up the East coast of China. The two cities we would be performing in, Suzhou and Nianjing, were relatively just inland from Shanghai.
RLPO tour bus travelling towards Suzhou
We would be flying again on this leg of the tour, from Guangzhou to Shanghai. From there the RLPO would be bussed to the Days Hotel, about thirty minutes away from the venue in Suzhou; the waterfront Culture and Arts Centre.
The next morning was an 8.15am meeting. We would be going to Nanjing today to open the brand new concert hall there. Due to logistics, it would be necessary to send our suitcases on ahead to Beijing to hopefully meet up with us at the hotel there. Only an overnight bag would be acceptable as there would not be room on the bullet train to Beijing the next day for loads of suitcases…
The name of the brand new concert hall in Nanjing
A little bit of debriefing about Nanjing from Wikipedia
RLPO Director of Artistic Planning & Ensembles, Sandra Parr, places a white board of handy hints and essential information in the hotel lobby each day
The RLPO itinary for today
Following the successful inaugural concert in the new hall in Tianjin, the RLPO awoke to the above itinerary. Today, we were travelling to the north; Beijing, in fact. Although the first concert on this third leg of the tour would be in Tianjin, it was considered more convenient to remain in the same hotel for the final three days of this mammoth tour.
At the busy train station in Nanjing
The RLPO had to be ready to leave to catch the bullet train up the East Coast at 9.30am. We boarded the three coaches to the train station and disembarked to wait for a while before our 11.09am train was due to depart. Only one member of the orchestra had to return to the hotel to collect a forgotten passport!