17 December 2018
In our 2018 European Tour, the Sydney Symphony Orchestra will perform 12 concerts in seven countries in some of the most magnificent halls in the world. Emma Dunch, CEO, is on the road with the orchestra and writes to us from our tenth stop, Luxembourg.
It was another early rise for the long bus ride from Frankfurt to Luxembourg, during which we were regaled with tales of the region by the Sydney Symphony Orchestra’s one Luxembourg native, First Violinist and noted composer Georges Lentz.
Georges was born and grew up into the countryside near the city, the son of two local teachers. His marriage to an Australian brought him down under 27 years ago, but his family remains in the local region. It was very special that his aunt could bring his mother, age 93, to the rehearsal and performance — and Mrs Lentz looked proud as a peacock to see Georges in action. Other friends and family turned out, including his former piano teacher, and all cheered when Chief Conductor and Artistic Director David Robertson introduced him — in Luxembourgish, no less!—as a proud native son from the stage, and then offered his floral bouquet to Georges with a big hug during the bows.
David is an extraordinary linguist who has won new friends in every concert hall across Europe by speaking with our audiences in their native tongue. So far, we’ve heard him introduce encores and crack musical jokes in German, French, Polish and Luxembourgish! We anticipate that he also has Danish under his belt for Aalborg, the Danish home town of Sydney Opera House architect Jørn Utzon, and the location of our final of the 2018 European Tour at Musikkens Hus.
We were joined for this performance by His Excellency Justin Brown, Australian Ambassador to Belgium, Luxembourg, the European Union and NATO, and his colleague His Excellency John Marshall, British Ambassador to Luxembourg, along with business leaders from the newly established Australian-New Zealand Chamber of Commerce in Luxembourg. David Robertson stopped by to say hello during the interval in the spaceship-like foyer. The Philharmonie Luxembourg, opened in 2005, is an extraordinary piece of architecture, both inside and outside.
This was violinist Renaud Capuçon’s final performance with us and he turned in a wonderful performance of Erich Korngold’s Violin Concerto to match our performances of Brett Dean’s Engelsflügel and Prokofiev’s Symphony No. 5.
Photo Credit: Rene Jeppesen