A Great Start to 2017

17 January 2017
Johane Gonzalez Seijas

Johane Gonzalez Seijas



January 4th, 2017

How could you not immediately feel at home, when you arrive in Tenerife and at the next day the taxi driver recognizes you from previous visits to the Festival Internacional de Musica de Canarias?

I lived in Gran Canaria for 9 years and so returning to the Canary Islands with the Mahler Chamber Orchestra to open the 33 edition of this Festival meant a lot to me. It's a great honour, I'm so proud to play for "my" audience again after so long and this time with the amazing MCO.

This time I started the tour with a very special project called Feel the Music led by Paul Whittaker.

Kashka (violin), Yannick (viola), Martin (percussion) and I played for a group of hearing impaired children. We played some of Bach's Goldberg Variations (I use the aria to get my son to sleep…)

The children seemed to really enjoy feeling the music. We played some games together and then they tried our instruments. A very happy day was had by all!

January 5th, 2017 

Today was a day of pleasant encounters. It was the first time we met the conductor Jakub Hrůša and from the very beginning we all knew it was going to be wonderful. I was curious to work with him – he was born just five days before me and now has a big career as Chief Conductor of the Bamberger Symphoniker. 

The programme promised a lot: three Dvořák overtures, In Nature’s Realm, Carnival and Othello (Nature, Life, Love), Prokofiev's first violin concerto, extraordinarily played by Frank Peter Zimmerman, and Chamán, a mystical piece written by Gustavo Trujillo.

January 6th, 2017

Today the city was so quiet - it was Three Kings’ Day, and Jakub Hrůša surprised us in the rehearsal, bringing us some typical Spanish cakes used here to celebrate this special day. This cake is called Roscón de Reyes and is a ring-shaped cake with some surprises inside. Musicians are always happy when there is food around!

January 7th, 2017 

Today we had the dress rehearsal and concert at the Auditorio de Tenerife “Adán Martín”. We were warmly welcomed by the audience. In the interval, Kashka, Martin and I met the Feel the Music children. Their parents were with them and they were all were so happy to be at the concert... Esteban insisted on wearing his tie and Lucia was so elegant with her pretty pink dress.  It was a very moving moment for me to see their parents so excited by their children saying: "I want to play the violin!"

It was a fantastic concert.

January 8th, 2017

The day arrived! I had been looking forward to this day for such a long time, I hadn’t been back to Gran Canaria for 4 years. I closed my suitcase, had breakfast and went to the port El Puerto. From there we took the fast ferry to Gran Canaria. I was a bit nervous, because the night before had been so windy and big waves were expected... but we were lucky and the sea was quiet.

What a nice surprise for me to come to the Auditorio Alfredo Kraus and say to the security guard at the entrance:

- Hi, I'm from the Mahler Chamber Orchestra.
- Yes and no. You are not only from MCO, you are also from the Orquesta Filarmónica de Gran Canaria, and that makes us proud.

Then inside the Auditorio all the stagehands greeted me like old friends. It was a lovely feeling to be back after so many years of working here.

My legs were shaking a bit before the concert, I was a bit nervous and wanted to give my very best. But once the first chords of the concert started, the magic of MCO made me feel good again. And it was another great concert with a standing ovation!

Before and after the concert I met many of my old colleagues from the Filarmónica. They were so happy to listen the MCO and it was so nice to see them again. 

Some of my wind colleagues had the opportunity to stay a bit more and do concerts at the other islands with the octet. I was a bit jealous but you can’t have everything…I went diving instead!

It was a great start to 2017.

Happy New Year to you, dear MCO Tour Diary!

Photos: Martin Piechotta / Geoffroy Schied