It was a tough 70 days, all my friends advised me against it, it involved 10 venues 21 different flights (and securiy checks) and airports (and security checks) plus a few trains. 90% of this tour I organized myself; if this was one of the many Los Angeles Philharmonic tours I have taken in the past, I would have been an aggressive complainer, but looking back on this tour I see pleasure and fulfillment.
The logistics of this tour, for example, were the essence of poor management, my own poor management! It started with two short masterclasses in Northern Arizona University and the University of Redlands in Southern California then Direct to Tempare, Finland for a week, then immediately to Boston to participate in the annual Boston Brass Bash. I was smart enough to give myself a 48-hour jet lag adjustment time on all the trans Atlantic fights.
From Boston the tour took me to Penn State University and from there to the NERTEC tuba symposium in Ithaca, New York. At this point I want to mention that the organizers in all these venues managed all their events superbly.
After the NERTEC event I went to New York City for little rest and recreation. In 3 days we went to see and hear Aida at the Metropolitan Opera, The Musical, Chicago, and the Boston Symphony in Carnagie Hall. That’s more listening to live music in a short time than I have experience in 40 years! All the performances were great but in the company of my Japanese friends I enjoyed it more.
The next day I got on a plane again and made the necessary connections to get to Ljubljana, Slovenia for 9 days to conduct brass ensembles in several cities and give masterclasses. By this time culture shock was normal to me; food, people, language, were always in adjustment, which I always found invigorating.
Next came my old work place, the Royal Northern College of Music in Manchester, UK. It’s always a good feeling to return there. After Manchester I went to London and the Guildhall School of Music and Drama, which, as RNCM, now seem to have evolved in to annual venues that I can depend on for the future.
The nest day was another trans Atlantic flight to Los Angeles and to the campus of the Pasadena City College, for 28 private lessons, which subsidized the trip. This was my second time there and I will be there again May 9-13 next year, 2016. Mexico City was the next stop and again it was a week of masterclasses lessons and again that very special kind of culture shock that keeps life interesting.
I’ve never encountered such a tour, cultural experience or adventure like this tour since 1967 when I traveled with the Los Angeles Philharmonic around the world with Zubin Mehta, which included Europe, most of the pre 1989 communist countries of Eastern Europe, Greece, Turkey, Tehran, Iran, where we played for the coronation of the Shaw and an unforgettable week in Zubin’s home country of India. I’m absolutely sure that this trip in 1967 was the influence that has created such a deep need in me to travel and experience as much of the world as possible.
But now this article seems like just a wordy printout of Bobo’s 2015 spring world tour. However, the focal point of this tour was music, brass music and teaching brass music; this has become a need and a passion for me that is far greater than just the traveling. I’m asked in every place I go ‘what is the difference between students in different parts of the world?’ The differences are vast and interesting but what is more impressive is the fact that playing is getting better all over the world and one can fine extraordinary young players almost everywhere today. It’s an exciting thing to see, and with my more than sixty years of observing the growth of brass playing in the world, I am able to make an experienced guess of what we might see in the next 60 years. I can absolutely guarantee there will be some amazing and unbelievable things to see and hear.
May 20, 2015, Oaxaca, Mexico