On the road in California

People, colors, landscapes and drumsounds. Travelling with my orchestra is never boring. This month we were in California and did several performances. The nice thing about California is that you can play outside a lot and we did. We also travelled to see other orchestras and I heard some interesting drum samples that I would like to try in my own repertoire.

I studied in a conservatory in Los Angeles and then joined the orchestra. We were with only thirteen musicians back then. It was a simpler time. We practiced every week and had several shows a year in Los Angeles. In 1994 we really broke through and were able to start touring all year round and everywhere in the country. We also went abroad. For example we just returned from South America. Santiago had four concerts that had sold out and in Lima we had a concert were 18.000 people attended. Reviews of our concerts were very good. Although a lot of people experience classical music as boring or ‘heavy’ it really is not. We have worked with several singers and I always give the example of Andrea Bocelli and his drum samples free concept. His opera voice, which is also called the voice of God can move even the biggest hater of classical music to tears. Especially our repertoire is very light and accessible to different and younger audiences. We also often have people dancing at our concert.

We want to start experimenting with more showmanship in our concerts, possibly working with different colors and artwork.

We have been talking about travelling to the Netherlands, because of tourist reasons but also because in Amsterdam there is a festival during the summer holidays. We recently read an article that talked about the learning orchestra. This is an orchestra where hundreds of students from primary schools play songs using acoustic drum samples. According to the article it is celebrating its ten year anniversary this year. Even the queen of the Netherlands is attending. We would love to join and witness this event. It is always great to watch young children getting interested in orchestra music.

Another interesting thing to witness in the Netherlands is the Royal Concert Building. This building is supposed to be the second best concert building in the world.

The Amsterdam Baroque Orchestra was founded in 1979 by Ton Koopman. The founding of the Amsterdam Baroque Orchestra followed in 1992. To this day every year the ensemble comes together to perform new ensembles.

It is important to realize that orchestras are less and less common. Many professional orchestras go bankrupt due to a diminishing amount of interest in them. Patrons of the art who give this music funding and help are always needed and praised by us. Together we can surely help orchestras more and more relevant again. I recently had an experience were a live orchestra played at the movies. It was very special. This year there was also a new album by Electric Light Orchestra. The group made this album after fifteen years of silence. Jeff Lynn who is the creative head of the group signed the contract for the new record at Colombia Records. He promised the new work would have the same sound as the old ones.

picture taken by jay fisher

picture taken by jay fisher




Their repertoire is especially instrumental and often from the 17th and 18th century. This orchestra contains nine violists, two alt violists, two cellists and a contra bassist. Unfortunately there is no percussion, which makes it a bit less interesting for me because of the lack of drum sounds.