Hello from Lucerne! / by and Play

Though I promised Maya I would blog semi-frequently, it's been so busy here that I haven't had the chance yet! I just finished my first full week at the Lucerne Festival Academy in Switzerland, and it's been a whirlwind of rehearsals, chocolate, concerts, and cheese.  There are many things I could write about, but for right now I want to talk about today -- the Lucerne Festival's 75th anniversary celebration.

This was a BIG DEAL. The festival broke its normal format and had free concerts happening the entire day. Each concert was about an hour long, so ideally you could attend 5 or 6 if you wanted to.  Not as ideal was the fact that though the concerts were free, they were ticketed, so you had to be one of the dedicated ones who got in line fairly early in the morning. I arrived at nine, stood in line for an hour and 15 minutes, and walked away with tickets to the two concerts I wanted to see.

First, I should mention that the academy orchestra, of which I am a member, played three concerts today (I played in two).  Let me just break down my day for you.

11:30 - played a concert, Vivier's "Siddartha"
1:00 - watched the Mahler Chamber Orchestra perform Beethoven's 5th symphony
2:30 - watched the Academy concert I was not performing in, Steve Reich's "The Desert Music"
4:15 - performed Messiaen's "Turangalila"
6:30 - saw the Lucerne Festival Orchestra perform Mozart and Rossini

The music was incredible, as were the audiences. In one day I experienced probably the best Mozart performance I've ever heard (conductor-less), the crazy talent of the singers in the Reich piece, and playing one of the most adrenaline filled symphonies I can imagine. AND every concert was packed. It's comforting to see that there are places where live performance is still truly revered, and audiences that are willing to take chances (lots of respect to the Swiss audience listening to Vivier at 11 am!). Being in Lucerne, where live classical music is truly a part of their everyday culture, is always a nice reminder that there is value and a future to our profession.

The downside of today? I am exhausted. So, I'm going to head to bed and get ready for our excursion to Mt. Pilatus tomorrow. Cross your fingers that it doesn't rain!

Before I go, other highlights of this week : 2 fantastic concerts by the JACK quartet, playing in an orchestra with an ondes martinot, the Brie truffle cheese I had for breakfast today, reconnecting with chocolate yogurt, and this view from my host's balcony.

That's all for now!