Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra takes off on Lufthansa to Asia and Australia

Wednesday 10, November 2010


Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra takes off on Lufthansa to Asia and Australia


World famous Berlin Philharmonic is flying aboard a Lufthansa Boeing 747-400 to nine concerts in Abu Dhabi, Perth, Sydney and Singapore.


The 128 world class musicians of the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra have chosen Lufthansa German airlines for their concert tour to Asia and Australia. Lufthansa special flight LH 5010 took off from the runway at Berlin Tegel Airport on Monday 8th November for the longest and most unusual special flight of the year for Lufthansa and the Orchestra. Members of the Berlin Philharmonic under the direction of principal conductor Sir Simon Rattle and General Manager Martin Hoffmann will embark on what will be one of their longest and most distant concert tours to date. During the next two-and-a-half weeks a Lufthansa Jumbo Jet Boeing 747 will take the illustrious group to the Gulf Region, to Australia and Singapore.


Already since the 1990s, for its concert tours in Europe and overseas, the Berlin Philharmonic has regularly called upon the services of Lufthansa. The forthcoming autumn tour 2010, thereby, is unusual in several ways: for the first time, the orchestra from Germany’s capital is chartering a wide-bodied jet – a Boeing 747-400 - for a complete overseas con-cert tour; for the first time the members of the Berlin Philharmonic will be presenting them-selves on the 5th continent; and never before have the instruments of the orchestra going on such a journey occupied so much space in the freight hold.


As Sir Simon Rattle and his musicians wish to play Gustav Mahler’s Symphony No. 1 in D-major, as well as a modern piece by Brett Dean on the concert tour, among other things ten large kettledrums and other voluminous instruments like xylophone, marimbas and vibraphone must be taken along on the journey. The harps and double basses as well as the 65 crates containing the "working clothes" of the ensemble’s 130 musicians, naturally, also take up a lot of space. More than 100 cubic metres of freight, carefully packed and protected against damage, packed in special crates and containers must be stored in the hold, but partly also in the passenger cabin of the B 747-400 - a task that is as large as it is complicated for the production manager and logistics chief of the Philharmonic, Kai Bernhard Schmidt, and the experts of Lufthansa Cargo in Germany, Asia and Australia.


A special solution has already been found for the twelve voluminous cellos: because, due to a concert in Amsterdam, the cello players will arrive too late for the planned preparations of the freight pallets on Sunday in the Lufthansa Cargo hall at Berlin Tegel airport, the precious stringed instruments in their cases will be buckled into passenger seats just like human passengers.


For the Lufthansa crew under Captain Rainer Lange, too, the 18-day special flight assignment for the Berlin Philharmonic is anything but “business as usual”. For several crew members like Purser Peter Jacobus, Sir Simon Rattle and his musicians are already good, old friends; Jacobus will already be providing a perfect cabin service on a Philharmonic concert tour for the eighth time: “You really look forward to it very specially. It’s almost as if you are welcoming your family on board”.


First stop on the forthcoming tour is the Arab Emirate of Abu Dhabi on the Persian Gulf, where the Berlin Philharmonic will be playing on Tuesday, 9th November, in the Emirates Palace Auditorium. From there, the journey continues with a 12-hour flight to Perth in Western Australia. There two concerts are scheduled in the Perth Concert Hall on 13th and 14th November. Next stop is Australia’s largest city Sydney. There it will give concerts in the famous Sydney Opera House on 16th, 17th, 19th and 20th November. Some of the concerts on the 5th continent are planned to be broadcast via Public Viewings in other Australian cities. The most famous German Orchestra will leave Australia onboard their Lufthansa-Jet for Singaprore on 21st November. They are expected to land at Singapore’s Changi Airport at 4.50 pm local time. On 23rd and 24th November, two further concerts will then follow in the Esplanade Concert Hall in Singapore, where the night-time Formula 1 Grand Prix recently raced close by.


After a total of nine concerts, Lufthansa Flight Captain Rainer Lange and his crew will be bringing the Berlin Philharmonic back home on 25th November.


PS: Oh, and a big "Hello!" to all readers! We're also huge aviation fans. Click on the "FUN" option in the top green menu, you'll love it... (-the editors)



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