The last two days have been busy – lots of travelling for our first two concerts. The first was in Berlin at the Konzerthaus as part of the Young Euro Classic series. There was a full house and lots of excitement on our part, as for many of us it was our first time playing in this hall. It was also broadcast live to something like 250,000 people throughout Europe.

Our programme was Shostakovich’s Eighth Quartet arranged for chamber orchestra, a tango by the resident composer for the Moritzburg Festival, Gustavo Beytelmann, and the Brahms ‘Double’ Concerto with cellist Jan Vogler and violinist Robert Chen. It went well. Overall there was a good energy that made up for a few mishaps – an attacca last movement in the Brahms that the violists missed, a rocky beginning to Piazzolla’s tango Oblivion – small things, really. The audience seemed to enjoy the programme, calling the soloists back to the stage five or six times.

Afterwards we headed to the Dresdner Bank (one of the sponsors of the Young Euro Classic series) where there was a reception. We had a good view of the Brandenburg Gate from the top floor balcony, and enjoyed drinking champagne and talking about the concert.

Sadly, we had to leave the reception to get back to the bus. Our conductor, James Gaffigan, joined us for the bus trip back and we spent the three hours back to Moritzburg bonding with each other.

The next day we travelled to Bad Elster, an idyllic spa town right near the Czech border where we performed in the König Albert Theater. It was a very beautiful little hall. There was a small but appreciative audience – they especially liked the Brahms. They wouldn’t let us leave without playing an encore. Afterwards we were really tired and jumped on the bus to get home. We ate cold pizza and tried to not get too sick on the winding roads.

Even just a few days of bussing around Germany made me remember the sheer exhaustion that orchestra tours induce. But I think that two days of traveling was just about perfect – it was exciting to play in Berlin and Bad Elster was very nice. I’m looking forward to our Dresden concerts over the next few days.