What Happens when Half an Orchestra Gets Stuck at the Airport?

Sep 21, 2018

Mysterious ancient stones, a European tour gone off the rails, the "world's fastest" violinist... this link roundup covers all weird and wonderful stories from the week in classical music.

1. Maurice Sendak's first book in five years, "Presto and Zesto in Limboland," features illustrations created for a London Symphony Orchestra performance of Janácek's "Rikadla." Published posthumously with assistance from Sendak's close friend Arthur Yorinks, the book is a testament to the whimsy and beauty of friendship.

2. George Gelles asks: in a post-Leonard Bernstein world, where are all the American conductors?

3. Not sure how to start listening to classical music? Lifehacker has your back:

4. What does an ancient instrument made of baguette-like stone slabs sound like? Archaeologist Marilyn Mortorano found out.

5. Manami Ito is a paralympic swimming champion, the first nurse in Japan to have a prosthetic arm, and, as if that wasn't impressive enough, a concert violinist. Here, she performs Miyuki Nakajima's Thread:

6. In the remote Indian village Kongthong, you're much more likely to hear people calling out song fragments than names. That's because every person in the community has their own personal melody, given to them at birth by their mothers. This video is in French, but the narration isn't the important part -- listen to these residents sing their names:

7. The Boston Symphony Orchestra's European tour came to a tumultuous close this week when half the orchestra got stuck at Charles de Gaulle airport on the way to Amsterdam. A delayed start and a last-minute program change ended in enthusiastic ovations from the crowd -- and the musicians left behind in Paris were in good spirits, too.

And they decided they might as well have a drink, recalled associate principal clarinetist Thomas Martin, speaking by phone after landing in Boston. “We were sick of sandwiches,” he said. “Someone got a big can of foie gras and some crackers, and we were passing it around.” 

8. Here's a uniquely touching article: "String Players and Makers on their Most Sentimental String-Related Items."

9. The comedy duo behind TwoSet Violin takes on the "fastest violinist in the world":