I have just left Portland, Oregon, after a marathon week. It started with my Vegas concert last Thursday, continuing to Saturday, Sunday, Monday, and Tuesday concerts. On top of that, on Sunday morning I played an informal spur-of-the-moment fundraiser for the organization Mercy Corps, which is based in Portland. Last night, the Oregon Symphony and I played in Salem, at Willamette University.
It was great to work with this group and their music director Carlos Kalmar for these four concerts. This was actually my Portland orchestral debut. Funny that it has taken this long – but that’s advance scheduling: sometimes it works logically and other times it has its own plans. The orchestra and Carlos were really on their toes, and that made the concerts a real joy to be part of. It felt like all interpretive possibilities were open, and that in turn left lots of room for imagination and spontaneous ideas.
After the first rehearsal, a musician brought her 3-week-old baby backstage and was presented with a handmade blanket from a group of women in the orchestra: each had knitted one square and then one of the violinists had sewn all of the squares together. That was a sweet moment to see.
I broke more bow hairs in this Portland engagement than in any other week I can recall. It must have looked dramatic, but I have no idea why it happened.
Now I turn to Sibelius. The new album will keep the Tchaikovsky percolating for the time being.
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