Friday, August 12, 2011

Where Exactly Have You Been, Young Man??

I have officially been chastised by at least 5 Back Row Perspectives readers for not posting in so long.    On the positive side, I guess that means that there are at least 5 people that read this thing!

Well, I have some good reasons, though it's not like nothing has happened since late June.   After the wonderful experiences of my solo tour in Texas and Tennessee (more on that later) and some great quality time with my family during the month of July (more on that at The Vienna Wilsons), I dove straight into my fourth Salzburger Festspiel, playing almost every call for two weeks (more on that later, too). 

Now I'm here in the middle of the Japanese Alps in a town called Matsumoto.   It's south of Nagano (site of the 1998 winter olympics) and is the home of the Saito Kinen Festival, which is the reason I'm here.   I was invited by Seiji Ozawa to perform in both the opera and orchestra portions of this year's festival.   I'll be playing 1st trombone in the opera, where our repertoire will be Bartok's opera Bluebeard's Castle and Miraculous Mandarin ballet.   In the orchestra, I'll be playing 2nd trombone on Tchaikovsky's Symphony No. 4 and Romeo and Juliet Overture.     After about 20 days here in Matsumoto, the festival goes on tour to Beijing and Shanghai.   Definitely looking forward to that.   I have really enjoyed China in my previous trips, but I've never spent as long in China as the 12 days the SKF will be there.   We'll see how that turns out.

It's been a crazy few weeks, going rapidly from one mode to another, and I am ready to be in one place for a little while.   The absolute worst part is being away from Kristi and Eli for 4 weeks.   I had originally planned on bringing them along, but Kristi and I decided against it, mostly due to the fact that we've already been on the road so much this Summer.   It would've been cruel and unusual punishment to stick Eli in a hotel room in Japan/China for four weeks after all that.   In the end, we decided to put Eli's interests above our own (welcome to adulthood, I guess) and have them stay in Austria.  On the bright side, my mother-in-law Sherrye is there with Kristi and Eli while I'm gone.  Makes me feel better when they're not alone.

Getting here was relatively easy in spite of my two-hour flight delay out of Vienna.   Once I landed at Narita airport I was picked up by a SKF van and driven 5 hours to Matsumoto, arriving in the late afternoon.   The area is beautiful, with lush, green mountains surrounding the town and a couple pristine lakes in the area.   I hope to explore Matsumoto while I'm here.  There's supposed to be an impressive castle just north of the hotel.  

The view of Matsumoto from my hotel window
It's really hot and humid here, though not quite as bad as the stifling Tennessee/Mississippi heat and humidity we experienced a month ago.   My poor body doesn't know what season it is anymore.  In three weeks, I've gone from 100 degrees in the US, to 59 degrees and rainy in Salzburg, and back to 90 degrees in Japan.   

I'm trying to get out and walk as much as possible, mostly because I need to lose some weight ASAP.   Six weeks in the US was not friendly to my waistline, and not just because of the food.   Actually, I was more disciplined and reserved with my eating than I've been in a long time.   It's mostly due to the fact that I was basically on vacation for 6 WEEKS!   Once my solo tour was finished, I didn't do ANYTHING besides lay around and have quality time with family and friends.   So I'm hoping to maybe get out and get some exercise while I'm here. We'll see.

My first rehearsal was yesterday afternoon... a 7-hour one.   Which was not great for my jet lag, except that it forced me to stay up later than I probably would have.   The orchestra sounds good, and I've already met lots of nice and interesting people.  It feels a little weird to perform with a different orchestra, but that was part of my reason for coming.   I am already learning a lot and gaining a better perspective of what the VPO is good at and/or not so good at.   As far as the trombone section goes, we're still getting to know each other and feeling each other out.   But I think it will be a good-sounding group when it's all said and done.   

Stay tuned for more updates on various subjects!


  1. I read it, too, Jeremy! So that's 6 :), but I'm sure it's way more. I've sent out your site to my band director dad so his trombone (brass) students can follow. Anyway, I was able to hear you play at UNT during your solo tour- thanks for making our date night awesome!!!- and can't wait to hear about your end of the performances. Best wishes on your current adventure. Amy Stokes

  2. Who are the other trombones?

    Sounds like a great experience playing with another fantastic group!

  3. How about a brass roster???? ; )
    And ninja please! There are over 13,000 page views!