On Sunday I returned to the Philharmonie, but this time as a performer! Interestingly, the Philharmonie seemed much smaller from the stage, but I think it is just because you cannot see all of the seats. It’s a wonderful hall to play in – excellent acoustic. I was performing as part of the Junges Ensemble Berlin Sinfonieorchester
It was a fun programme for a summer afternoon – Maurice Ravel’s ‘La Valse’, Zoltán Kodály’s ‘Dances from Galánta’, Leonard Bernstein’s ‘Symphonic Dances from “West Side Story”‘ and Arturo Márquez’ ‘Danzón’. The Bernstein wins the prize for the most exotic instruments – cowbells, bongos and a policeman’s whistle play particularly important roles. We certainly had fun, and I think the audience did too.
As well as it being my debut in the Philharmonie, it was also my debut as official-post-concert-flower-presenter. It’s taken me about 12 years playing in orchestras to achieve this honour, and it is a role that brings with it significant challenges: the worry of tripping over in front of a full house, or leaning to the wrong side when kissing the recipient, mistiming your entrance and finding the soloist has left the stage or not managing to make your way off and back onto the stage through the obstacle course of harps, piano, percussion and music stands. Being in Germany presented me with an additional dilemma; which way up should I carry the flowers?! (for context see this post). Also, the flowers had to be thoroughly dried with a towel before the doormen would let me onto the stage! I think in the end I did ok, but I am still waiting for my performance review.
Unfortunately the after-party boat cruise had to be cancelled due to adverse weather in Berlin, but all wasn’t lost as we found a rather nice pizzeria in Emils Biergarten instead, l’Antica Dogana. I’m already looking forward to the next JEB concert – watch this space!
Junges Ensemble Berlin: https://www.facebook.com/jebsinfonieorchester/
Emils Biergarten: http://www.wbb-pankow.de/biergarten/