Japan 2011

I just returned two days ago from the MET's 3 week tour of Japan. Unfortunately, I'm now suffering from what will likely become a summer flu. I'm pretty sure this is a result of traveling and sleep deprivation and not the result of over indulging in radioactive sushi. Let's keep our fingers crossed that it's the former.

I had a really great time in Japan, and I think most of my colleagues felt the same way. As a result of the recent events in Japan, there were a lot of concerns and paranoia surrounding our trip. My observation was that, for the most part, life is going on as usual in Nagoya and Tokyo. I can't speak for the towns further north where we didn't visit. The Japanese people, as usual, were extremely hospitable to us and the audiences were very thankful for our performances. There were multiple instances where I would be walking out of the pit following the final bows and someone would approach me from the audience and say, "Thank you so much for coming! Thank you!".  Many companies have cancelled their scheduled trips to Japan. These moments really make you feel like what you're doing is worthwhile. Despite the numerous cast and conductor changes, the performances all went great.  The program for the orchestra concert was significantly changed and finalized only a few days before the performance in Suntory Hall, and it was one of the best concerts I've ever been apart of. Putting together the Norma Overture, Till Eulenspiegel, Forza Del Destino Overture, Don Juan, the Intermezzo from Manon Lescaut and a handful of arias in less than 6 hours of rehearsal is really something else. I think it says a lot about the great MET Orchestra and its ability to not only play accurately and inspired, but to adapt to last minute changes, no matter how significant. This is also a major credit to maestro Fabio Luisi, who in addition to being a great musician with a fabulous conducting technique, displayed a rehearsal technique with extraordinary efficiency. Working with him is really a pleasure, and I'm glad that we'll being seeing him even more often at the MET. For those who aren't familiar with his work, I encourage you to check him out.

I also had the pleasure of sharing a recital in Tokyo with my colleagues Paul Pollard and Demian Austin. Some photos from this event are posted on the photos page. The staff at Buffet Crampon/Antoine Courtois treated us like we were kings. The recital went really well and the audience was incredibly receptive. The hall was completely sold out and the seats weren't free. I only mention this because there are so many times that I've seen great trombonists in the USA give free recitals where only a handful of people show up. The state of arts appreciation in our country can be saved for another discussion. At any rate, the recital was fun, and the post recital sushi/sashimi dinner was even better. I was treated to a number of things I'd never tried before... abalone, sea urchin, raw shrimp and mackerel, and sushi rolls the size of your palm. It was pretty spectacular. Many thanks to everyone at Buffet Crampon Tokyo for a wonderful experience. 

The day after the recital, I taught a handful of lessons to students in the Tokyo area. I have to say that all of them play at a very high level and it was a pleasure working with all of them. Keita Kimura translated the lessons for me. Apparently, Keita was a student at Indiana only a year after I left and was roommates with one of my close friends, Richard White. The music world really is small! 

Summer adventure #1 is now officially over. I'm now looking forward to adventure #2... South Africa! I'll make sure to give an update at the end of July when I get back. 


1 comment

  • Randy Vaughn

    Randy Vaughn

    Thanks for the update Weston!! Hope you are feeling better!! Enjoy some R & R!!

    Thanks for the update Weston!! Hope you are feeling better!! Enjoy some R & R!!

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