Wednesday, October 17, 2007

A trip to LA III

Starting from the previous post, now I know what this trip costs: a mere 250,000€. That's the price the dean of the academy announced to the players (-students) of the orchestra leaving to LA. In his very personal speech on Monday he tried to make sure that the players are aware of the importance of this trip. A rather intimidating speech, not at all encouraging... It must have felt bad to be a part of this orchestra while listening to that.

As I wrote in the first post, here, few days later another youth orchestra performs at the same venue (they, twice), with the successor of the present LA Philharmonic music director. So, the present director, and conductor of the Sibelius Symphony Orchestra at this concert, E-P Salonen wants his orchestra to be better than the Venezuelan one. This is his right I guess, even if a student symphony orchestra shouldn't be used as a tool in his career. Especially in one as big as his... The administrators of the school however, don't have any guts to talk back to Mr Salonen. Even worse, they sent his wish (we have to be better than the others) via e-mail to all the players -and the master-class conductors- of the orchestra. I know much about the basic educational ideas of the Finnish system, and I believe intimidation and competition NOT TO BE A PART OF IT!!! And believe me, some of the players, many that is, take seriously this kind of statements. Now, as professional as they are, one should show them some trust. After all, the soloist sections were chosen after auditions... the only one put there by the school is the soloist of the concert. A good choice in any case!

In all, a waste of money, energy, and time. Paris, London, Vienna, and Berlin are closer, and more important I think. Students from these places come to study to the Sibelius Academy. In 7 years at this school, there have been only 3 US citizens in this school. So, why bother promote the Finnish education system and the Sibelius Academy in such a remote place... For those who know, the last few years more people go there -leave Sibelius Academy to US, than come here -leave US to Sibelius Academy. If it has to be US, even New York City is closer, and still more important...

One more thing: the orchestra started rehearsals last week with a young British conductor; he is preparing the orchestra for Salonen and LA. This talented young man is having two concerts today and tomorrow with the orchestra outside Helsinki as part of his master's exam. He didn't have a chance to chose the program of the concerts, Salonen did that for him. Neither he chose the soloist. And he's being under a huge amount of stress, from both Salonen and the administration. (he doesn't go to LA...). So, a pat in the shoulder will be his reward for preparing this huge project alongside his exam. Enough said!

PS: the members of the Finnish Radio Symphony Orchestra in its first tour to Japan in spring 2006, didn't get their breakfast paid. Obviously somebody complained, since they had a breakfast in this year's tour. The same mistake is happening in the Sibelius Academy orchestra concert project in LA. The students won't get their breakfasts at the hotel because these are very expensive (25$/person/day). Now, FOR CRYING OUT LOUD, did nobody from the Sibelius Academy administration hear anything about the Finnish RSO incident in 2006??? Where do they live? Is Helsinki SOOOOO big?

PS 2: the organization of the trip was a mess in all. I just wrote few examples. Cheers!

buzz it!

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