Greetings from London! After a long, bumpy flight–complete with a two-hour line for a manual check-in with handwritten boarding passes (ask me about that later when I’m not grumpy)–I, along with 10 YOLA (Youth Orchestra Los Angeles) musicians, ages 14-16 arrived in London town this morning. We were immediately greeted by something quite familiar to us Angelenos…and something quite unfamiliar to us: traffic and snow. Here’s proof:
After arriving at our hotel, which is a hop, skip, and a jump from the Barbican Centre, I grabbed sandwiches, a quick interview with the LA Phil’s Director of Educational Initiatives Gretchen Nielsen, and put together our first Postcard from London, which you heard on KUSC today. (We have nothing if not quick turnaround times.)
Then, it was off to the opening panel discussion of the symposium Future Play: Music Systems in the 21st Century. Co-hosted by the LA Phil and the Barbican Centre, this is a quite a gathering of arts luminaries, from the heads of the world’s major orchestras (LA Phil, London Symphony Orchestra, New York Philharmonic, Concertgebouw Amsterdam, many many others). In this photo, Sir Nicholas Kenyon (Managing Director of the Barbican Centre) was joined by Deborah Borda; LSO Managing Director Kathryn McDowell; Simon Reining, General Director of the Concertgebouw; and Jonathan Freeman-Attwood, Principal of the Royal Academy of Music.
They introduced some of the concepts up for discussion in the symposium as the week progresses (for example: the tension between the artistic integrity of an organization versus its social activism responsibility). To me, it was just amazing to see so many of these VIPs gathered in one place, with time and determination to tackle some of these major challenges in music education. More on that to come.
Tomorrow, it’s a busy day at the symposium, plus I’ll be hanging out with the YOLA musicians once again as they rehearse for their big presentation later this week. Then, it’s off to a Green Umbrella concert at the Barbican with Gustavo Dudamel conducting members of the LA Phil in music by John Adams, principal timpanist Joseph Pereira, and Unsuk Chin. 21st century music. Just business as usual at the LA Phil.