May 21 2009

Tokyo Extra

Published by at 4:25 am under PSO 2009 Asian Tour

I’m writing from the United Lounge at Tokyo’s Narita Airport where the Pittsburgh Symphony has been hanging out for the last four hours. The plane has been changed, and a new departure time of 7:00 pm set. The passengers have been waiting while the security staff and medical personnel evaluate the risk of swine flu on an incoming flight. I watched a crew of seven, all wearing masks, hair nets, and puffy blue scrubs as they hurried past with a cart of medical supplies. An ambulance has been parked at the steps of the 747 for some time, while uniformed guards talk on walkie-talkies, and other police vehicles gather on the tarmac. It’s hard to tell whether the caution has been blown out of proportion.

PSO Asian Tour Slideshow

I’ve been listening to the radio. In Tokyo, the stations are found in the lower portion of the FM band below 88.1. I listened to NHK’s Music Pleasure, a program of syrupy easy listening. I noticed in China and here at the airport, several collections of music by Paul Mauriat and Richard Clayderman — hard to find on American radio these days.

There’s a fair amount of rock and roll on the air in Tokyo, and I listened to some classical music; a soprano singing Nessun Dorma, and Ombra Mai Fu from Handel’s Xerxes.

Some folks have been enjoying a little extra shopping. There is a nice sushi restaurant near our gate that has been an attraction.

PSO Resident Conductor Lawrence Loh sent me this video of himself triggering the fireworks in the 1812 Overture at last night’s concert in Kaohsiung to dedicate the new 2009 World Games Stadium.

Pittsburgh Symphony President and CEO Larry Tamburri  gave me an interview. He’s off to New York, where his daughter is graduating from Juilliard this weekend. She’s a composer.

Larry mentioned that it wasn’t just the Mayor of Kaohsiung at the concert last night, but the President of Taiwan who appeared onstage during the flower presentations at the end.

The flight from Kaosiung to Taipei was smooth on China Air; then three hours from Taipei to Tokyo. We  left the hotel at 5:00 am. Two more flights to go — 12 hours to Chicago, a five hour wait at O Hare, and then the two hours to get to Pittsburgh.  See you when we get there! Stay well, and remember to wash your hands frequently!