Yesterday ranks as one of my favorite days in LA. Let me recount: stunning and sorta' creepy 4 hour hike through what was described in the guide book as the "urban wilds" Elysian Park. Change clothes in car. Eat mu shu pancakes in the parking lot of Walt Disney Concert Hall. Sprint to Piatigorsky Cello Festival Concert. Marvel at beauty of Gehry building and wooden pipe organ. Sneak down to orchestra seats. And then and then and then out came the "cello chorus." What is a cello chorus you might ask? Well, it is over 100 (yes, is this number right? It must have been. It was the entire orchestra.) cellists on stage all at once. I tried to find a video on YouTube of a similar event and nothing came remotely close to the quantity of instruments on stage. In the front, some of the world's greatest musicians, including the incomparable Mischa Maisky (above). And behind them, an army of young students, bows at attention. So the conductor comes on stage, raises the baton, and signals the beginning of Bach's Air. Before last night, I thought of this piece as the "overused song at weddings as the bride walks down the aisle." But last night's performance was an overwhelming, marvelous display of musicianship, solidarity, and multigenerational communion. An army of cellists playing in unison. It is an experience I will never forget. (Above is my very blurry photo before I got busted, along with dozens of proud parents.)
UPDATE: Thank you to attendee Pasquale, for the last, clearer photo. I saw that he successfully snapped a few images from the front row and was not busted, thrust my business card into his hands and begged him to send me a photo. The kindness of strangers.)
UPDATE 2: The New York Times has confirmed it: 110 cellos on stage. Just in case you thought I was being hyperbolic.