UK orchestra cuts short Japan tour – 14 March 2011

BBC Philharmonic flies home after being caught up in earthquake

The Manchester-based BBC Philharmonic Orchestra is on its way back to the UK after cancelling the last four concerts on its Japanese tour. The musicians were travelling by coach from their hotel in Tokyo to a concert hall in Yokohama when Friday’s earthquake struck. Video shot by violinist Simon Robertshaw shows the coach swaying violently as it crossed a bridge.

After arriving safely at the venue, the orchestra rehearsed briefly before being informed that their concert that evening was cancelled. The musicians then spent more than eight hours on the road as they journeyed back to their Tokyo hotel through gridlocked traffic.

Amid traffic chaos and power outages across the Tokyo region, only 50 out of 1,800 people made it to the Sumida Triphony Hall for a concert by the New Japan Philharmonic under British conductor Daniel Harding. Posting on Twitter, Harding said: ‘Just played Mahler 5 for the 50 who made it… Hope the other 1,750 are all OK. Wonderful atmosphere on the strangest of days.’ He added: ‘Would have played just for the 69-year-old who walked 4 hours across Tokyo to make it to the concert!’

via The Strad – UK orchestra cuts short Japan tour – 14 March 2011.

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