2 carryons, my wayward son

 Covering the Philadelphia Orchestra on tour in Europe is a gizmo-intensive endeavor. (Peter Crimmins/WHYY)

Covering the Philadelphia Orchestra on tour in Europe is a gizmo-intensive endeavor. (Peter Crimmins/WHYY)

LYON, France — To capture the Philadelphia Orchestra on their European tour – its 18th European tour in 60 years – a journalist needs a suit.


I am catching up with the Fab Phils during the second half of the 3-week tour, rendezvousing with them in Lyon, France, then hopscotching with them through some of the cities where western classical music was invented – Paris, Vienna, Amsterdam, London. Places where the Orchestra’s tour repertoire was originally composed. Places where running shoes and a windbreaker – what I am wearing right now as I type this, navigating De Gaulle airport for a connection – simply won’t do.

This trip also requires hardware. Quite a lot. I will be recording the orchestra as it performs pop-up concerts and residencies seated side-by-side with community orchestras, as well as in some of the most historic concert halls in the world.

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The orchestra last toured Europe in 2011 — not too long ago, but long enough. This will be the first European tour since the Orchestra emerged from bankruptcy, the first led by its new superstar music director, Yannick Nezet-Sequin, and the first since electronic social media platforms have become required tools for any arts organization.

Buried in this array of cables and adaptors and cameras and recorders is a Droid-friendly Meerkat setup (that’s Periscope for you iPhone people): a phone mount, tripod, and external microphone adaptor. With this I will live-stream sound and video, via Twitter, of the Philadelphia Orchestra in performance. You will be able to watch and listen at the same moment the European audiences do.

Follow @petercrimmins or @newsworksWHYY to keep abreast of the action. Sign up for daily e-postcards from me. Or, watch this space.

Funding for coverage of the orchestra tour comes from Visit Philadelphia.

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