Philadelphia Orchestra in Asia, China Next


As the Philadelphia Orchestra moves on to China, David Patrick Stearns ties up a couple of loose ends from the orchestra's recent concerts in Tokyo and Seoul:

- The Philadelphia Orchestra is still buzzing about the abusive rehearsal it endured with pianist Pogorelich in Tokyo. In a Skype conversation with a musician from Canada, one of the Philadelphia members was told how Pogorelich walked onstage to perform with the Vancouver Symphony with his shirttail half out and his fly down. Philadelphia Orchestra violinist Davyd Booth believes the orchestra lost a golden opportunity by not videoing Tokyo rehearsal. It would make such juicy viewing, he says, the orchestra could market it on DVD, probably with so much success that its money troubles will be over.

- In Seoul, I was attacked so repeatedly by a malfunctioning turnstile that transit police encouraged me to just jump over it – something I haven’t done in years. Then one of them determined that I had paid too much for my subway ticket, and actually chased me up the stairs and down the street to give me a 50-cent refund. At a concert intermission when I was fumbling for change at a soda machine, a woman walked by and handed me a 1,000-won bill (worth about $1), and seemed not to expect anything in return. It would seem that Koreans are some of the nicest people on the planet.