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Andrew Patner on Arts and Culture

Critical Thinking on Tour

Follow along from home as Andrew Patner and Matt DeStefano report from the road as they travel with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra on their Far East Asia tour and convey the happenings as they occur.

CSO Lucerne Tour 2005 – Day 2

As with most American orchestras, the CSO does not allow critics at its rehearsals (exceptions are sometimes made for the dress rehearsal of a world premiere). But we’re allowed near them and of course we are welcome to talk to people before and after a rehearsal. Spending time backstage in any hall is always interesting, more…

CSO Lucerne Tour 2005 – Day 1

This is a bittersweet trip to Lucerne. The CSO has been a regular visitor with Daniel Barenboim to the Lucerne Festival since the opening of Jean Nouvel and Russell Johnson’s now fabled KKL Concert Hall in the summer of 1998 and had annual multi-concert residencies here with Barenboim and Pierre Boulez in 2001, 2002, and more…

CSO European Tour 2005: London

Halls and Audiences – What Can One Learn from Them? Seven cities, eleven concerts (plus other ensembles with Barenboim and Boulez in Berlin), and eight halls: A tour tells many stories of architecture, acoustics, and audiences, which, in turn, tell many things about different cultures and traditions and about making and listening to music. The more…

CSO European Tour 2005: Budapest (Part 2)

Today was the emotional peak day of the trip. In the morning Mr. Barenboim was presenting members of his West-East Divan Workshop, the program for young Arab and Israeli musicians which he co-founded with the late Palestinian-American literary critic and activist Edward Said, as a part of a two-day conference on Said at the George more…

CSO European Tour 2005: Budapest (Part 1)

As wonderful as it is to attend a concert at Vienna’s legendary and acoustically excellent Musikverein — and as thrilled as many players find performing there (I say many and not all because people sometime forget that this was a hall built for a Brahms-size orchestra as a maximum for its stage size and shape more…

CSO European Tour 2005: Berlin

As the tour takes off with the arrival of the CSO things become a bit more hectic. For a second entry, herewith some snapshots of the most recent days of the Festtage and other happenings: Sunday was a day for happy irony — audiences, cultural tourists, critics, and visiting musicians descended on the Staatsoper for more…

CSO European Tour 2005: Berlin

Arrived in Berlin safe and sound and even a bit ahead of schedule at around 10:30 a.m. Getting out of town for this tour was crazier than usual as I had lost so much time during my bout of bronchitis over the last several weeks and then also wound up having to fill in for more…

CSO Berlin Tour 2004

It looks as if Sundays will be our only respite from cold, bleak, and rainy weather here on the Prussian plateaux ("Berlin" itself comes from the root "bri," or "wet place," after all) — but what better place to spend a part of a rainy day than in a cemetery and it just happens that more…

CSO Berlin Tour 2004

The breakfast spread is excellent at our pension and served in a bright and airy room with the mile-high ceilings that characterize Berlin’s 19th century apartment houses. After a breakfast of meats, cheeses, fruits, juices, breads, and coffee, we walk down the Oranienburger Strasse, past the restored and imposing 1857-66 double-domed Neue Synagoge towards the more…

CSO Berlin Tour 2004

I’ll save my commentary on the physical production of Moses Und Aron itself for my call-in with Carl on the Morning Program on Wednesday.  Suffice it to say here for now that Peter Mussbach has taken the easy way out with a wholly predictable German Regietheater ("director’s theatre") production that has little to do with more…