Monday, April 16, 2012

The Traveling Musician’s Second-Best Friend

Anita Mitterer, Violist for Quatuor Mosaïques 
Life on the road is tough. The concert musician’s life is on the road, almost by definition, and one has to appreciate the sacrifices they make for their profession. I’ve hosted enough visiting musicians this year to get a realistic feel for the many challenges. Most of us struggle with jet lag when we travel: just try to imagine jet lag with the added stress of an important performance. Even worse, consider the prospect of being jet lagged and trying to perform an important concert.

However, I have found most traveling musicians to be resourceful and highly adaptable. I would even say “zen-like”: to maintain their sanity, they have learned to go with the flow, to adapt to the situation at hand … to live in the moment. I have yet to hear one whine about their lot in life, although they will sometimes admit they are a little tired. Not too tired to do a little sight-seeing.

One travel companion that has become ubiquitous is the phone camera. Convenient and surprisingly high quality, the phone camera is revolutionizing photography. As Chase Jarvis wrote in 2009, The Best Camera Is The One That's With You: iPhone Photography. The market for iPhone books is pretty crowded.

Anita Mitterer and Andrea Bischof    
So, I have just come to expect our visiting musicians to whip out their iPhone. It is comforting to note that when they visit San Diego, they are obviously enjoying the sights, because the phone camera is out so frequently. When the four musicians of Quatuor Mosaïques blew in yesterday, the first question they had was what should they see in San Diego. Where to start? My secret has been the San Diego Zoo Safari Park. Of course, you can’t go wrong with the “regular” zoo, but the wide open spaces of the Safari Park provide a unique experience for most visitors, but especially those from Europe. No, Dorothy, we aren’t in Austria right now!
Quatuor Mosaïques performs tonight at the Neurosciences Institute. There isn’t a bad seat in that hall and it’s not too late to order your tickets and have them ready for you at the door. I’ll be at the ticket table, so say hi.
I called the phone camera the traveling musicians “second-best friend.” What do you think their “best friend” is?


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