Friday, February 26, 2010

weather trouble

8am. I wake up to a snow covered view of Central Park. Pretty, I think, then look down and see cars and buses either stopped on the circle, or spinning their wheels trying to get out of the snow. I get my Blackberry out of bedside mode, and the phone starts buzzing uncontrollably. 10 emails, 7 facebook alerts and 1 voice mail. Everything is pretty standard, but the voice mail worries me. As it turns out, it is a "courtesy" call by American Airlines saying our flights out of LGA were cancelled because of weather. The friendly voice goes on saying that they kindly re-booked us one day later, through Miami all the way to Madrid. It's all fine with me, but I realize that Lucille will have to play her recital about two hours after touching down. We call AA's Executive Platinum desk, knowing that no matter how high one is on the priority list, it's going to be a long wait. The scene is something to behold: two blackberries, and our home phone, all set on speakerphone, playing AA's holding jingles, sounding like an edgy minimalist trio for three computerized travel agents accompanied by elevator music. The piece lasts for about 30 minutes, at the end of which a very nice travel agent, a real person this time, makes sure we have seats together tomorrow, and wishes us good luck getting a flight. By the looks of it, I dare not make any predictions, but the snow seems to be getting worse. 
It's been a rough winter season. I managed to get on the last flight to Florida two weeks ago, before Dallas was covered by a record-breaking 12 inches of snow. Lucille was stuck there for an extra day and reached me in Florida just in time to hear my first performance ever of Chopin's Second Piano Concerto and to celebrate Valentine's day. Earlier this year, she had to cancel a concert in Washington, DC, also because of weather. Hopefully this time things will work out. After her recital near Madrid, we'll be off for three concerts with the Grieg Concerto and the lovely Castilla y Leon Symphony Orchestra in Valladolid and Salamanca. I am really excited to be back there, to play for the first time in their new hall in Valladolid, and to be working with conductor Vasily Petrenko. Of course, I can't wait to have their world famous suckling lamb once again. About a month ago this tour almost fell apart. The management realized that I was booked to play in the Salamanca hall with two different orchestras on two different tours, one month apart. Because of some exclusivity clause, buried deep inside some contracts, this could not happen. Happily they asked Lucille to play the concert in Salamanca, which makes this tour quite unusual. I'll do the rehearsals and play the concerts in Valladolid, then she'll have a quick sound check on the day of the last concert in Salamanca, and I will be sitting in the hall enjoying her performance of the Grieg! 
All of this, weather permitting!