Takeaways from the National Symphony’s Russia tour

Posted on: April 12, 2017

“The seeds for the National Symphony Orchestra’s tour in Russia were sown two years ago with an invitation from the Rostropovich International Festival, which is the only institution in Moscow that brings in major foreign orchestras and which had never invited an American one,” writes Anne Midgette in Friday’s (4/7) Washington Post. “Not all of [the musicians] were looking forward to traveling overseas for only five days to a country with which relations are so strained…. It was, for some, a pleasant surprise that the tour turned out to be such a positive experience.… The [orchestra] played its first two concerts in the Great Hall of the Moscow Conservatory, where the portraits of composers that line the walls were offset by a huge photo of Rostropovich hanging over the stage…. The sellout crowd [in St. Petersburg] came rushing in as soon as the doors opened and listened in attentive silence…. [Music Director Christoph] Eschenbach seemed to take inspiration from their intensity…. When Eschenbach finally granted the ‘Valse Triste’ encore, he and the orchestra seemed to breathe as one, the players responding to every motion of his hands with a synchronicity that was as close to perfection as musicians are going to get.”

Posted April 12, 2017