Aug 24 2011
Wilkommen nach Deutschland! The Pittsburgh Symphony has arrived–at least the official group is here and it’s warm and sunny. I enjoyed catching up with some of the musicians on their summer activities since we last saw them at Hartwood Acres on July 3. Principal Horn William Caballero enjoyed three weeks playing and teaching in Sapporo, Japan where he’s gone for most summers over the last decade. His family made the cross-country journey to Jackson Hole, Wyoming where he has also been a regular. Bill flew to Sapporo, while his cellist wife, Kathleen, drove the family home to Pittsburgh. Kathleen is playing as a substitute on this tour.
It’s a bit odd that the tour began with a westward flight to Chicago before the Atlantic crossing, but I enjoyed catching up on the Chicago papers. The Chicago Tribune reported that the Lyric Opera has taken pay cuts for next season and there was a lengthy article on suburban Lynwood which has instituted a $750 fine for anyone caught wearing “saggy pants,” the hip-hop fashion of showing off one’s undergarments above the trouser line.
The Sun Times had Washington, DC’s new Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial on page one. Columnist Mary Mitchell suggested that Dr. King would have preferred that the $110 million be spent on the poor. Jesse Jackson reminded readers that King was a “drum major for justice” and would have liked the way he’s been sculpted.
With renovations under way at Heinz Hall, The Pittsburgh Symphony had six intense tour rehearsals at Pittsburgh Opera’s facility in the strip district, where they gave two concerts for small groups of patrons. Some players felt they heard too much Liberty Avenue traffic, especially during George Vosburgh’s dramatic trumpet solo that begins Mahler’s Fifth Symphony. There will be another full rehearsal Friday morning here in Germany.
Heinz Hall manager Carl Mancuso told the musicians as they boarded the airport shuttle bus that hall renovations are going well and should be mostly finished in time for the PSO’s Musique de Monde gala concert on September 17th.
Wiesbaden is still a large military base for the U.S. Wagner started writing Die Meistersinger here. Max Reger studied here. Brahms spent a few days here. 14-year-old Priscilla Presley met 24 year old Elvis here. Her Dad was in the army with Elvis. Dieter Rams, the industrial designer for Braun shavers, was born here–there was a nice profile of Dieter in the Wall Street Journal just a few days ago. Filmmaker Volker Schloendorff and Adolphus Busch of Anheuser Busch beer all started here. Now the Pittsburgh Symphony has returned to add to their illustrious history at the Kurhaus on Friday night.