We are back from an exciting and rich trip to Iceland. The trip was very much a success in the sense that we covered so much ground in a short period of time.
It all started when we came off the plane and saw my former student and friend, Oddur Bjornsson, principal trombonist of the Iceland Symphony Orchestra. His warm smile and caring nature made us feel at home right away.
From the moment we left the airport on our way to the city of Reykjavik, we were immersed in Iceland's amazing landscape, so different to what Carol and I are used to! We'll be posting pictures that Carol took soon to give you a flavor of some of the natural sights we experienced.
Playing with the orchestra was a lot of fun. In some very basic ways, symphony orchestras are the same all over the world. People warming up, harps tuning, musicians coming in and out getting ready for the start of a rehearsal. Except for the different surroundings, it felt just like any other day at the orchestra!
We played Dvorak's "Othello" overture and Strauss' "Don Quixote." It's so interesting to hear how different orchestras play, as well as hearing what is pretty similar regardless of approach. For example, blending, listening, tuning, paying attention to the conductor, all took place in Iceland, as in Boston, Minnesota or anywhere else. I know that sounds obvious, but it sheds light on our similarities rather than our differences and that can be very leveling and grounding.
The trombone section in the Iceland Symphony is Oddur Bjornsson, who also played euphonium on the Strauss, Sigurdur "Siggi" Thorbergsson, David Bobroff on bass, and Tim Buzbee on tuba. [For more about the section and this concert, read my Iceland Trip: More on the Orchestra Experience! post.]
I really appreciated how welcome they made me feel and I really enjoyed playing with them. It was an honor, in fact, to be a part of another orchestra in a country other than my own.
It shows that wherever you go, there you are.... and there they are, others like oneself. All of us on this journey called "life." It is very warming, and humbling.