• DECEMBER 2009: Happy Holidays

    Hanukah is over, Christmas approaches. Since I am taking it easy for the next few weeks, it seemed like a…

  • DECEMBER 2009

    No complaints this month. In many ways, I am lucky to be writing anything at all. But with the enforced vacation, due to a heart attack on November 1st, I have had some time to reflect about many matters, most having very little to do with music.

    But here is what happened:

    During my week of rehearsals and concerts in Rotterdam, I had started to feel a bit out of breath, especially walking over to the hall. Being somewhat overweight, this was not out of the ordinary, but once in a while, I actually had to stop. This should have told me something.

  • NOVEMBER 2009

    We ended last month with the Cardinals winning their division, the Tigers still in first place, the Lions on a one-game winning streak and the DSO in great shape.

    Three of the four collapsed quickly. The orchestra remained in first place.

  • OCTOBER 2009

    Finally! A chance to spend more than one week with the DSO!

    Music directors are supposed to be working with their orchestras on a regular basis. In the previous season, since my appointment in Detroit happened rather quickly, I was only available for five subscription concerts. So, in most ways, this 2009/2010 season is truly my first full year. It is a time of settling in with the new band, getting familiar with how we will work together, and for me to immerse myself in the new environs.

  • SEPTEMBER 2009: Change Is in the Air

    “Harsh booing at the gala opening night of the Metropolitan Opera—where strong negative reactions are rarely heard, at least in comparison with European opera houses—was still ringing in the ears of the opera world on Tuesday.”
    — The New York Times, Sept. 23, 2009

    The Detroit Symphony has announced plans for a completely revamped season, starting with its concerts this week. The programs will not be changed, at least the ones advertised, but the manner in which the works are performed will be altered.

  • SEPTEMBER 2009: Special Edition

    Usually I am content just to write about the past months activities, with no stopping off for side trips. But since 65 seems to be one of those special occasions, and since it turned out to be unique, I have decided to share it with everyone a bit earlier than usual.

    For three days, I have been part of a Festival in Dubrovnik which is called “Julian Rachlin and Friends.” Boy, does he have a lot of friends. Our pictures are plastered on posters distributed all over town. Julian had invited me to work here and I readily agreed, knowing that the milestone birthday would occur in this beautiful Croatian city.

  • SEPTEMBER 2009

    Egad!!! I am 65. Some folks have said that this is the new 45, but I don’t remember that time as being so great either. In any event, August was a fine month before I officially hit old age.

    Wrapping up the week at Tanglewood was a concert that helped kick off the celebration of Sir James Galway’s 70th birthday, which is not for another five months. Jimmy and I have been longtime collaborators and there are few musicians who are easier to work with. And the jokes between movements … don’t get me started.

  • AUGUST 2009

    This month’s installment will be quite a bit shorter than most. The reason is simple: I took most of July off.

    As with last summer, my son Daniel and I took three weeks to visit various baseball parks around the country. Our time was divided into the West Coast stadiums and then Chicago and St. Louis. It was at the latter that I attended my first All-Star Game. We had a terrific time and are trying to figure out what we will do next summer to top this trip.

  • JULY 2009

    One can feel it in the air. The end of the concert season is close and various forms of time off are near. There is a physical letdown and the best you can do, after the ardors of a tough season, is to take little vacations along the way.

    Such was the case at the beginning of the month of June.

  • JUNE 2009

    On the road once more. This time for six weeks. Groan!

    Now that I actually have a physical place of residence, it seems more difficult to be away. All those boxes that need to get unpacked, getting used to a new kitchen, and those pesky tools that I need to stay away from.