London, England

Dear Readers,

I am currently in a swanky lounge in Heathrow airport. I am leaving London. My face is all sorts of shiny colors because I just spent half an hour painting various products onto it in the Duty Free mall. I was particularly enthusiastic with the bronzers. Even the back of my left hand is sparkling. Beyond my hand, someone is negotiating a deal via cell phone, and another man’s legs stretch shoeless over his suitcase as he naps. I notice that no one has chosen to sit in full view of his bare soles. In the aisle to my right, a little boy is giving a cowboy action figure a high-speed piggyback ride.

Why am I in London? Two nights ago, I played at the famed Proms festival in their traditional all-Beethoven program, with the Deutsche Kammerphilharmonie Bremen. We had been on the road a week already, performing the Mendelssohn concerto in Hamburg (in sweltering heat) and in Kiel, and the Beethoven concerto in Bremen. I love working with this orchestra and its conductor Paavo Jarvi. Being onstage with them feels like such vibrant chamber music. It was a particularly vivid experience with them in Royal Albert Hall, in front of 6,000 people! We were all excited and energized, and what was really neat was that the orchestra didn’t become more cautious when their adrenaline was pumping; they dove right in to the music and played it for all it was worth.

Yesterday, after a good night’s sleep following a fun post-Proms reception, I donned my concert dress once again, for a photoshoot with no audience. Now I’m off to another continent.