Friday, April 23, 2010

Volcanic fallout

The ash clouds from the eruption of the Icelandic volcano Eyjafjallajökull have been spreading mostly eastward, but its disruption of air travel and resulting effects on travelers' schedules have spread in all directions. And we're reminded of how dependent classical music has become on international travel.

Locally, James Wilson had to hustle to find replacements for violist Lily Francis, who was stranded in Sweden, for this week's performances in the Richmond Festival of Music.

This weekend's big classical events in Virginia – the Richmond Symphony's April 24 date with its new music director, Steven Smith, and violinist Gil Shaham; the Virginia Arts Festival's April 23-24 performances of Leonard Bernstein's Mass; the Virginia Opera's "Porgy and Bess," April 23 and 25 at George Mason University in Fairfax; the Staunton Music Festival's April 23-25 Springfest; the Virginia premiere of Judith Shatin's "Jefferson, in His Own Words" in April 24-25 concerts by the Charlottesville & University Symphony – are unaffected.

Elsewhere, though, the New York Philharmonic had to reorder its Stravinsky festival programs to accommodate artists who were delayed in getting to New York. The Cincinatti Symphony's music director, Paavo Järvi, had to cancel a series of concerts with the orchestra when he couldn't get back from Frankfurt, Germany. The Scottish conductor Garry Walker and English percussionist Colin Currie were grounded and forced to cancel a Utah Symphony engagement. Claus Peter Flor, stuck in Switzerland, missed a guest-conducting date with the Houston Symphony.

Meanwhile, under the ash cloud, British orchestras worry that disrupted tours could have a devastating effect on their bottom lines, Maryrose Fison reports in The Telegraph: