Hidden from small

2019 China: Guest Post from Violinist Amy Oshiro-Morales

May 30, 2019

6:30 AM—Awoke in Hangzhou to this gorgeous view of the water and city, though slightly smoggy. Breakfast at the hotel was a huge display that went on and on ... yum! It was impossible to see all of the choices in the first go-around. For those of you who are curious, there are plenty of Chinese and western food options. The full breakfasts are always something my husband (Ricardo Morales, principal clarinet) and I look forward to during tours!

9:15 AM—Boarded the large van and we were on our way to Zhejiang Conservatory of Music. Zhejiang is the name of the province where the City of Hangzhou is located. Our guest of honor, Ambassador Nicholas Platt, was also with us to tour the Conservatory and attend the events. It was a pleasure having the chance to chat with him during the ride.

10:00 AM—Arrived at the Conservatory … what a place! The building was impressive and so architecturally distinctive. The entire campus is beautiful and has the feel of a modern sculpture garden. I learned that the entire Conservatory opened only four years ago … so new!

10:10 AM—Began my violin master class. Three students played Mozart concertos and some Bach for me and the audience. A lovely violin professor named Beibei Sheng from the school helped me translate. With all of my demonstration, I think I played just as much as the students did! Afterward I met some of the other professors and we were all treated to a special lunch at the faculty dining hall.

2:30 PM—Took a look around the mall next to our hotel. It was mostly clothing stores, but I managed to buy a few gifts to bring back home. I also got a small scoop of ice cream called “American-style brownie chocolate” and it was just like Ben and Jerry’s. But hey, check out this skirt I saw! (No, I didn’t buy it.)

5:50 PM—I look out at the view again and am reminded of the feeling I always have when I am in China. There is an impression of constant movement and restlessness that reverberates through all of the cities we perform in. They seem to be reaching forward, always desiring to get ahead of one another. At times it even seems almost urgent. Perhaps that is why their progress is so rapid and their cities are continually changing? At least it seems that way to me.

6:35 PM—Ricardo and I trek over to the concert hall! It is mercifully close to the hotel so we do not need to get on an Orchestra bus for a nice change. The concert hall is grand and everyone is taking pictures of it, so we did the same!

7:05 PM—Took a peek into the hall from the enormous backstage area. The audience was filing in and it was now time for me to get my instrument out as well. Modern concert halls are designed with ample backstage space for many dressing rooms, large amounts of stage equipment, props, storage needs, instrument trunks, etc. Older halls never have enough room for anything when a touring orchestra with a hundred members comes through. Sometimes there is barely enough room to put our instrument cases out! In contrast, this hall is vast, spacious, and easy to walk around.

9:40 PM—The concert is over. Tonight we performed Beethoven’s Sixth Symphony ("Pastoral") and Sibelius’s Second Symphony. We even added Sibelius’s Valse triste as an encore. It’s always satisfying to receive enthusiastic applause when far away from home; it energizes me! Yannick and I took a post-concert picture together and I’m grateful that he stays approachable and open toward us musicians of the Orchestra. I’m convinced that our honest relationship with him keeps our performances authentic and our music-making fresh.

11:30 PM—It’s the end of yet another busy tour day. Tomorrow we travel to Nanjing to perform for the very first time. Now it’s time for me to turn in.