In my seventeen years of travel one of the most powerful forces that cross language barriers and truly unite us all is music. It cuts through race, religion and ethnicity because it is universal. It could be classical music in Tel Aviv or an r&b singer in Italy, to an Argentinian rapper or a country western singer in Japan – music touches every single one of us – it doesn’t matter what language but it’s the emotions it brings out every single one of us and that why it is such an awesome force.
I love multitudes of music from rock and roll, to r&b and of course Motown. Hip-hop and like some rap as well, I am an 80’s child and that will always be among my favorites and respect the ones I am not a fan of. One style that will always be among my favorite is classical music. And like every type of music it is in a class all its own and when I do travel I try to take in at least one performance if that city does have an orchestra, and here are my top five and two of them may surprise you, because they surprised the hell out of me.
1. The Boston Symphony Orchestra – the BSO will forever be my favorite. Under the direction of the Latvian Andris Nelsons they will always rank among the world greats. If you’re a classical purist visiting Boston go to see the BSO.
2. Sydney Symphony Orchestra – during the tour of the Sydney Opera House we watched the orchestra rehearse for a few minutes and the moment the tour was over I bought tickets and the next night it was about Prokofiev, acoustic wise few halls can equal this one
3. The Israel Philharmonic Orchestra – before I left Boston for my journey to Israel I’d done some research on this orchestra and to my surprise they had just finished an entire renovation on their performing arts center. Well I got a ticket and for my last night in Tel Aviv I enjoyed a night of Camille Saint-Saëns – a perfect way to end my eight day adventure.
4. The Hong Kong Philharmonic – this was another surprise because I never thought I’d be going to HKP but on my second night there, I was talking to the concierge at the Hyatt Regency I was staying in – ‘what’s there to do on Tuesday?’ He asked if I liked classical music, I responded YES!!! He had a ticket for that night to see the Hong Kong Philharmonic and I enjoyed a night of Rachmaninoff.
5. Tonhalle Orchestra Zurich – this was pure luck I’d just finished lunch after a day of walking through what is the cleanest city I’ve ever visited, on my way back to the hotel I walked by the symphony hall and a few hours later I was listening to this amazing orchestra perform Mahler’s Symphony #5.
And these are my five favorites I’ve enjoyed around the world. For those that read this that love the power of classical music and visit any one of these cities you must experience these orchestra’s.