Vienna Phil in Tokyo: ‘We’re in virtual quarantine’

Vienna Phil in Tokyo: ‘We’re in virtual quarantine’


norman lebrecht

November 11, 2020

Daniel Froschauer, the orchestra’s chairman says: ‘We came with our own plane, we had a corona test at the airport. We eat together in one room, are always in a group and cannot leave the hotel.’

Doesn’t sound like much fun.

More here.


  • Alexander says:

    doesn’t sound like much fun but some lettuce to get 😉

  • Schoenberglover says:

    Japanese tours are hugely profitable for orchestras like Vienna Phil, particularly the small private concerts they give for fans in addition to the orchestral concerts.
    So I guess it makes economic sense to go & earn money in Asia while most halls in Europe are shut. Plus it would be a great opportunity for them to show to the world that orchestral touring can be done safely in the Covid era. Although I doubt other orchestras would have as much resources as the Vienna Phil does at their disposal…

    • Petros Linardos says:

      I can understand that the VPO has few equals and no superiors in its popularity. But what resources are referring to? This is not a rhetorical question.

      • Rogerio says:

        Austria possesses vast resources, not least among which are the deposits of oil and natural gas to be found in the Austrian Sea. You also have fishing, especially crab, lobster and schnizzle. The VPO receives a percentage from the exploration of this wealth by decree of the Duke of Bilgewasser in 1720.

      • Schoenberglover says:

        A big name like the Vienna Phil is more likely to attract sponsors & attention from concert promoters to make the tour possible in a country like Japan than an equally excellent (& may I dare say often more exciting) orchestra or chamber orchestras/ensembles. Travelling in private jets, hiring entire floors of hotels etc to keep the players in quarantine like the VP has done is not realistic for orchestras & ensembles with fewer financial & material resources.

  • Rogerio says:

    Good for the Vienna Phil and good for Japan. And now some advice to young people who are thinking of committing their lives to classical music, especially those of you who were not “born into Musical Families”. You know, like it says in most of those bios you have read of possible teachers you may want to seek out. The advice: Hedge your bet and prepare to be able to work in another area. It will slow down your progress in music but will save you a lot of grief come the next global chrisis. And one more time – Good for the Vienna Phil!

    • SVM says:

      Well, advising people to have multiple career options to hand is probably reasonable in just about any profession these days.

      But how about giving some advice to those already in the profession on how they can facilitate the career preparedness of people who are not from musician families? If we agree that “social mobility” is fundamentally a good thing (personally, I define “social mobility” as “the capacity for a person to pursue, should he/she wish, an occupation that differs from the occupations of his/her parent(s), guardian(s), and/or others in his/her family and/or household”), then we should be working hard to encourage such people, if they have serious musical potential, to aspire to a musical career, and to guide them to make such an aspiration reality. Of course, we must be candid about the challenges, but I feel the tenor of Rogerio’s comment may come across as too negative.

      Speaking as a first-generation musician myself, one piece of simple advice I would give to music teachers is “do not assume that the unspoken/tacit ‘rules of engagement’ in the music profession will be obvious to your pupils, even if they are very accomplished musically”. In other words, take a bit of time (but not too much, because your job is principally to instruct and guide in the art and science of *music* itself, and not “how the profession works”) to discuss some of these ‘rules of engagement’ (ideally, incorporate them into your feedback on musical performance — for example, consider how you might discuss the differences in approach between a live performance, a performance without audience recorded in one take, and a studio recording assembled from hundreds/thousands of takes), drawing on the lessons learned (and mistakes made) in the course of your own professional experience (anecdotes can be a very useful starting-point).

      • Rogerio says:

        You are the daughter of Farmers, you get into medical school, you become a Doctor.
        You are the son of Stone Masons, you get into a good Conservatoire and study Violin … and at some point you will find yourself competing for a place in an orchestra, against the son of the Principal Oboe. No matter how much your teacher taught you about the rules of engagement.

        • Sue Sonata Form says:

          To be forewarned is to be forearmed. This doesn’t just relate to the music business; not in the least. However, you seldom see this in elite sports where family doesn’t have much to do with athletic ability/sporting prowess.

  • Any news Norman about the New Year concert?

    • Anonymous Bosch says:

      It’s a bit premature to ask: the current Lockdown II in Austria is in place through the end of the month. The first examination to determine if it needs to be lengthened and/or strengthened will occur this weekend, approximately two weeks after it went into effect. I am not optimistic, as cases still rise daily – 7.514 in the last 24 hours. I think we are looking at again closing all retail shops, and evaluating again in another month. Silvester seems very far away!

  • Gustavo says:

    It’s their job to suffer and whine at a high level.

  • particularly critical says:

    You are absolutely right!
    Other (maybe much better orchestras like the BR-symphony orchestra) great Orchestras in Europe are not allowed to play in front of public and touring is also forbidden.
    Boarders are closed!
    Don’t like the VOP!
    Way toooo much nepotism there!

  • Gladki says:

    Finde absolut unfair gegenüber andere Orchester und Musiker …. die halten sich wirklich für was besonderes aber sind auch …. nur Menschen!!!!!!Man sollte eigentlich dagegen protestieren das man solche Ausnahmen macht!!!!

    • Gustavo says:

      Die Wiener Philharmoniker sind eine Ausnahmeerscheinung.

      So wie das Britische Königshaus, FC Bayern München oder Donald Trump.

      Die bekommen aus Prinzip immer eine Extra-Wurst, während die Karnevalisten im Rheinland in die Röhre gucken.

  • papageno says:

    I feel bad for the few female members of the VPO who are stuck in quarantine with the ol’ boys.

    • Sue Sonata Form says:

      They’re probably going to be chanting (loudly) “I am woman hear me roar in numbers too big to ignore” and really endearing themselves to the opposite sex. Like the small armies of 30 something women working in the Australian parliament house who can’t find a partner – some not even getting a date. Attractive, accomplished women – all single and desperate for a mate. Don’t think I know what I’m talking about. I have family working in there.

    • Rioja says:

      if you know how the women look like there, you don’t need to worry

      sarcasm off

  • El says:

    what’s the point?