RLPO Japan Tour 2015 – Read About The Whole Tour!

140My blogposts for the RLPO Japan Tour 2015 have proven surprisingly popular. It just goes to show the current marketing power of the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra, Chief Conductor Vasily Petrenko and star piano soloist Nobuyuki Tsujii; both individually but especially when all forces are joined together.

104Due to the constraints of time and the fact that I am away in Japan for a further two weeks I won’t be able to tidy up/correct the site much before returning to the UK.

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132Hopefully this page will make it easy for all to navigate between the days the orchestra has spent in Japan…

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THE BUILD UP TO THE TOUR

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DAY 1 – Arrival & Free Day in TOKYO

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RLPO Japan Tour 2015 – Day Six – A Day Off In Tokyo!

Brendan's Brand New Yamaha D & E Flat Trumpet!

Brendan’s Brand New Yamaha D & E Flat Trumpet!

Just before I go into the ins and outs of today’s free day, have a butcher’s at Nobuyuki Tsujii, Vasily Petrenko and the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra performing Rachmaninov Concerto no. 3 in Liverpool Philharmonic Hall a couple of months ago, prior to the tour. This is in our newly refurbished Liverpool Philharmonic Hall.

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This morning I managed to have a modest lie in and then I went down to the marvellous breakfast in the ANA Intercontinental Hotel. I was thinking that I’ve been away for six days now so I decided to make use of the hotel laundry service. I had to get my bag collected from the room before ten in the morning and it would be ready by six early this evening.

Well, you can’t say much fairer than that!

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So, off I went. The first thing to do would be to negotiate the underground railway system with the travel pass supplied by my wife. I had three stops to go to get to Ginza to meet my wife and father- in – law at the tube station at midday.

Phew! Well, that was easy.

Ginza Tenryu

Ginza Tenryu

Ginza is Tokyo’s leading upmarket shopping and eating district. It is a centuries old part of the city and apart from the usual branded shops many stores and businesses have been here for a very long time. We met successfully and my father-in-law, Professor Tanigawa-san, announced that we would start with lunch.

The Gyoza restaurant - Japanese pan fried dumplings

The Gyoza restaurant – Japanese pan fried dumplings

A very popular dish in Japan, indeed also in my own household in Liverpool, is Gyoza. Inhabitants of Tokyo know to head for Ginza Tenryu, whose Gyoza are twice as big as other restaurants and who sell 5000 of these delicious dumplings every day!

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Pay peanuts…

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Send In The…

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More Trombone Humour…

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Vibby Vibrato !

About ten years, or so, ago I was helping out a brass band when the conductor stopped the whole band and said to me, “… Is vibrato totally alien to you, or what?!”

10390397_10153513829009746_5994499208365980966_nMore recently, someone else said to me, “… Is vibrato illegal in your country?!”

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9. RLPO Japan Tour 2015 – Fukuoka

One of the choices at breakfast today in the Nagoya Tokyu Hotel was the local delicacy of deep fried chicken in a little sweet chilli sauce. Very nice indeed! I had more than one portion…unnamed-11

Today would be the third destination the RLPO would be accessing on the Shinkansen, better known as the bullet train. It is an amazing experience, travelling at close to 200mph, and the trains are incredibly punctual. We boarded at 11.13am and disembarked at 2.39pm, just as advertised. The RLPO then boarded buses to the hotel arriving at 3.30pm.

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Japanese firm Suntory appear to have a hand in many things. The best whiskey in the world, the great Suntory Concert Hall in Tokyo, world class sporting events and a very nice beer too. Is there any end to this company’s talents?!

Perfect timing to settle in to the hotel for a four thirty rehearsal in the Acros Fukuoka Symphony Hall five minutes walk away.

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RLPO ‘bumper horn’ Chris Morley about to open his clinic as ‘agony aunt’ in his high backed leather chair…

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8. RLPO Japan Tour 2015 – Nagoya

It was a little bit windier than usual so the caring trombone section bought their leader  a wind shield to protect Si Cowen's cigarette lighter. Those boys think of everything!

It was a little bit windier than usual so the caring trombone section bought their leader a wind shield to protect Si Cowen’s cigarette lighter. Those boys think of everything!

The Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra assembled around 9.00am outside the ANA Intercontinental in Tokyo to catch the coaches to the train station. The RLPO would be travelling to our next destination and our penultimate concert, the seventh of eight, in Nagoya, at the Aichi Prefectural Arts Theatre Concert Hall.

1525656_10153570256847786_5966552761069456960_n Last Monday, a few days ago now,  was a day off in Tokyo for the orchestra so some members booked in for a good day out skiing further to the north of the country. The Bullet train makes just about anywhere in Japan and back accessible in a day.

Pete Mainwaring, Chloe Vincent, Alex Holladay, Sarah Nixon and Gethyn Jones

Pete Mainwaring, Chloe Vincent, Alex Holladay, Sarah Nixon and Gethyn Jones

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7. RLPO Japan Tour 2015 – Tokyo 2

Our Stravinsky and Prokofiev programme for the RLPO Japan Tour 2015 was put to bed last night. I always enjoy playing The Rite of Spring. It was written just over a hundred years ago and sounds as fresh as a daisy today. I’m not in The Firebird this time, but it is always a pleasure for me to listen off stage. I also like playing the quietly fancy trumpet part to the third piano concerto by Prokofiev. However, that programme is not being played again, and the Shostakovich/Rachmaninov programme for the rest of the tour. About twenty musicians would no longer be required so they set off to fly back to the UK this morning, after breakfast. It turns out, by all accounts, that their journey has been anything but smooth. I have just received the following from the legend, second tuba Ryan Breen, “… There was a malfunction on one of the air con/pressure systems and they can’t take off unless they have both, incase one malfunctions mid flight. That took an hour. Then we had to circle Heathrow for an hour due to the backlog of traffic from the U.S snowstorms. We missed the connection to Manchester, but they got the whole group on the next flight, so it could’ve gone worse!! We will be setting off in a moment, and only arriving back one hour later than originally planned!  Really enjoyed the tour . Hope you guys have a good few days and a better journey back than us!!”

Could’ve been worse then…

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During my wife’s time working in Sendai, Toko became very friendly with three teachers from Tohoku University. They were travelling all the way down from Sendai to hear the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra perform in Tokyo Suntory Hall. Toko and I set off to meet these young ladies at the rather grand Imperial Hotel, after which we would all be going for lunch in Ginza, just four doors down from the flagship Yamaha Music Store.unnamed-4

The Imperial Hotel is known by reputation as one of the best in Tokyo and this year is celebrating 125 years since opening. It is of course still a way off being as old as the RLPO, this year celebrating 175 years since starting off, but still a fine achievement. Incidentally, the RLPO is the oldest professional orchestra in the UK having started in 1840. This makes us more senior than the Vienna Philharmonic and the New York Philharmonic!

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6. RLPO Japan Tour 2015 – Tokyo Concert 1

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Today was day seven and concert number five for the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra on our Japan Tour 2015. This year marks 175 years since the founding of the RLPO and part of our celebrations includes a healthy amount of foreign touring. This tour to Japan is the first time we have visited this wonderful country. Later in the year we will be touring the Czech Republic and also Romania.unnamed-5

Our fifth concert was an important one for the orchestra as this would be our first in Tokyo, the capital city of Japan, at the world famous Suntory Hall. Suntory are perhaps better known in the UK for making world champion whiskies and for putting on major golfing tournaments but the have built one of the greatest concert halls in the world here in Tokyo. Our hotel was perfectly situated right next door too!unnamed-6

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