Conducting an international orchestra tour during the pandemic

Posted on: February 3, 2022

“After enduring repeated COVID-19 testing and a 5,400-mile (8690-kilometer) flight from London to become the first international symphony to tour the United States in 23 months, the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra arrived in California to discover … ‘a load of the instruments didn’t arrive,’ co-principal trombone Matthew Knight said,” writes Ronald Blum in Tuesday’s (2/1) Associated Press. “ ‘Our trumpet section had to borrow trumpets.’ … With their own instruments and evening clothes in hand, the Royal Philharmonic completed a 14-concert, nine-city U.S. tour on Monday night, the first international orchestra to play Carnegie [Hall] since Feb. 24, 2020.… Music director Vasily Petrenko and cellist Kian Soltani received long and loud ovations for … Britten’s Four Sea Interludes from ‘Peter Grimes,’ Elgar’s cello concerto and Holst’s ‘The Planets.’ … The Royal Philharmonic traveled with an orchestra manager, tour manager, three stage crew and six assistants…. A handful of musicians … tested positive for COVID-19 and were left behind in their hotel rooms in Los Angeles and Orlando to isolate until they tested negative on consecutive days. Some were cleared in time to rejoin the tour. ‘It’s been unbelievably challenging for all the reasons you can imagine,’ [managing director James] Williams said.’ ”