The musical flight from Japan – and the conductor who doesn't want to know
The Czech army sent two planes to airlift the Philharmonic out of Tokyo. The Maggio Musicale are straggling home to Florence. The BBC Philharmonic are back in Manchester.
Violinist Anne Akiko Meyers has posted heartfelt regrets in cancelling her tour and the conductor Daniel Harding
sent me a downcast tweet from Narita airport: He had worked as hard as anyone to keep music alive in disaster-stricken Japan.
Meanwhile, the NHK orchestra of Tokyo is performing in Montreal on Friday night. That should be an occasion for Canada to show solidarity with the suffering nation and maybe raise a few hundred grand for reconstruction. Local media are trying to give the event the highest possible profile and you would expect the conductor to take the lead in raising awareness.
But the conductor is Andre Previn.
photo: NHK all rights reserved
The glory days when Previn hogged the media limelight are long gone and he is now picking up bits of cash work where he can. Previn, it appears, has nothing to say about the the plight of the country whose orchestra he is conducting. A colleague who requested a few words received this response from the Place des Arts press officer: I just spoke to Maestro Previn and I am afraid he does not wish to do any
interviews while on the tour….
A conductor’s job is to lead. If he cannot lead in the thick of disaster, he should not be conducting. Shame on him.