by Soovin Kim November 7th, 2008


a BBT goodbye

I am at London Heathrow airport awaiting my flight home. Even this last morning in London was a whirlwind: breakfast with Christian, a hotel fire alarm, a very entertaining and equally expensive taxi-driver discussion about Obama while watching the changing-of-the-guard band marching by, extravagant tea drunk in more extravagant 300 year-old porcelain, a listening with Mitsuko of the slow movement of Beethoven violin concerto played by Adolf Busch, and finally the ride to the airport. All of that in three hours.

Everybody had the look of having a BBT tour hangover this morning. Or was it an overload of Messiaen and God? I mean, how much transporting to another world could we handle in a week? This whole experience of Messiaen, from the rehearsal period in April through the initial US performances in May to this past week in Europe – it has been completely satisfying, not one ounce too little or too much. One of the miracles of this project was the bridging of the different musical perspectives. You could hardly assemble a group of personalities with such different personal and musical backgrounds: the one-woman melting pot of a Japanese-born pianist raised in Vienna but adopted by London; the Cadillac-driving Swiss cellist who also studied in Vienna, lives in Belgium, but really wants to be in Mexico this week; the Swedish clarinetist who could be a snake-charmer on rollerskates; and wonderful Llyr who is a caricature of himself, each efficiently-uttered line becoming an instant classic, somehow managing to be reserved and straight to the point at the same time in his Welsh brogue. Throw in the free-swinging Iowa-born Korean-American New Yorker (me) and the carnival was complete.

Franco Buitoni and Ilaria Borletti created the BBT with the specific goal of encouraging younger (allow me refer to myself in this way one last time before returning to my life of helping truly younger people!) artists, and they have already quickly accomplished this with their small army of talent. But the greater effect of their support, whether intended or not, is that each of us gains from these experiences and then goes back to our separate lives spreading the flame with audiences and other musicians. They are providing a gift to the world. Thank you Franco and Ilaria.

Franco and Ilaria

The tour gang