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2014 Tour of Asia & China Residency, Day 19: Highlights and Heading Home

June 06, 2014

The Orchestra is on its way back to Philadelphia after a triumphant first tour with Yannick. We asked musicians to weigh in with their best stories, favorite moments ... and tricks for surviving the long flight home.

What do you like best about being on tour?

We are fortunate to visit the best, most famous concert halls around the world. I love thinking of all of the different musicians who have performed on the stages we visit. (Principal Second Violin Kimberly Fisher)

Principal Second Violin Kimberly Fisher likes to think of all the different musicians who have performed on the same stages of the Orchestra.

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I most enjoy performing music for people in different parts of the world. Seeing new cities and concert venues, eating new food, meeting new people. (Principal Percussion Christopher Deviney)

I love the routine of doing the same thing everyday. I have three things that I try to achieve without fail: 1) Run a minimum of two miles; 2) Read the Bible; 3) Do some exercises in my room. All the other stuff–rehearsals, concerts, video chatting with family back home—just happens automatically. But for me, it takes a lot of self-motivation to try and accomplish my "Big Three" each day. (Concertmaster David Kim)

What I like best about being on tour is playing great music with my esteemed colleagues under the leadership of our beloved new maestro, Yannick, and meeting interesting and courteous local people. (Horn player Shelley Showers)

I like that the musicians get to really bond on tour ... we are all pretty much together on the same planes, same buses, and same hotels and often sit with different people and dine with different friends and colleagues while traveling through different cities. (Principal Bassoon Daniel Matsukawa)

What do musicians miss most from home? We know that family (pets included) is the number one answer to this question. So how do you keep in touch with friends and family when you’re halfway around the world?

I love all the technology available to us nowadays. I use Skype to video call with my wife and daughters and a free net-based messaging service called Kakao Talk. (David Kim)

“Skype is awesome! We haven't been able to get much coverage of the French Open Tennis on this trip. My wonderful husband has been setting up his computer facing the TV at home so I can watch the matches via Skype. (Kimberly Fisher)

What has been your favorite moment?

Musically—the two concerts at Suntory Hall in Tokyo were particularly exquisite. Although I have to say in all honesty, when performing with Yannick, every night is an energizing and memorable experience. (David Kim)

So far the best surprise has been seeing Shenzhen, a city that I had never heard of before and yet at 10 million is bigger than NYC!! (Christopher Deviney)

Richard Woodhams's solo (at Suntory Hall in Tokyo) in Mahler’s First Symphony. (Kimberly Fisher)

Musically, the performances have been memorable and we especially love Suntory Hall. The new concert hall in Shenzhen, China, was also impressive and wonderful. It's also hard not to feel like rock stars out here as the audiences have been flatteringly applauding and roaring loudly at the end of the concerts. Non-musically, we played baseball against members of the Tokyo Symphony and the Yomiuri Symphony Orchestra. Our own team is called the Philadelphia Firebirds. I loved being able to be the starting pitcher. And WE WON!!!! 17-5 YAY!!!!! (Daniel Matsukawa) 

Principal Bassoon Daniel Matsukawa (standing, middle row, left) was the starting pitcher for the Orchestra’s baseball team, the Philadelphia Firebirds, when they beat their Tokyo Symphony counterparts, 17-5.

What is the one thing you never go on tour without? (Besides your instrument!)

Cigars, noise-canceling headphones, a backpack. (Christopher Deviney)

A few things: My comfy neck pillow for sleeping on airplanes, my Bose earphones so I can have excellent sound when watching in-flight movies, and snacks from Trader Joe's. (David Kim)

Snacks! (Kimberly Fisher)

What do you do on a 14-hour flight?

Read, watch movies, hopefully nap a little, and I also usually stock lots of snacks for fear that I may starve over 14 hours! (Daniel Matsukawa)

Catch up on as many movies as possible. Listen to music. (Christopher Deviney)

I fast. I find it helps me with jetlag. I also read, drink a ton of water, take a sleep aid and snooze a few hours, and I watch several movies. (David Kim)

On a 14-hour flight I enjoy talking with friends, meeting new people, and catching up with my sleep. (Shelley Showers)

Five movies, two meals. (Kimberly Fisher)

What's the most unexpected or surprising thing to happen to you on tour?

I turned 51 years old. As routine as my birthday is on every May tour, this one somehow snuck up on me. I can't believe I have been in the Orchestra for 15 years and that I am now on the other side of 50! (David Kim)

Years ago in Malaysia, a large crystal light fixture fell from the top story of the concert hall and hit me on my hand during the concert. It was quite dramatic—but the Orchestra kept going and didn't miss a beat. I left the stage and got stitches. (Kimberly Fisher)

I made my first home movie ever while on tour. It was a thank-you video to our beloved Yannick, who graciously gave each one of us a gift of one massage session at any of the hotels on tour. The video was a compilation of thank-yous from various colleagues expressing our gratitude for the gift as well as a remarkable great first tour with the maestro. (Daniel Matsukawa)