Taiwan and Towers

The concert in Taipei, which is sponsored by UBS, takes place in an enormous hall with a pagoda style roof, and in front of not only the audience seated inside, but a few thousand others watching a simultaneous relay to the screens outside. And if you ever wondered the extent to which the LSO enjoys celebrity status on tour, this is it. The concert goes well, the Berlioz reaching new levels of fantasy and breadth, and the soloist, Lang Lang playing another fluent and sparkling Mozart concerto. He’s a great communicator, and really seems to enjoy the rapport with Harding and the orchestra. After the Berlioz we play Star Wars. And as this is possibly the very last time Maurice will play the famous Title Theme, there is a real sense of occasion about it. The roar of the audience as we finish is one of the reasons I enjoy this life so much, and we make our way off stage, and up to the balcony of the concert hall overlooking the square, which is packed with people, and they cheer as we wave.
The following day is a must for doing the Taipei 101 Tower, (the tallest building on Earth), and by taking the worlds fastest lift, we reach the top in just 37 seconds. That’s the best part of 509 metres! Wow. Nice view from up here, I must say….and it seems I’m not the only one to feel a bit dizzy, as there is discernable movement up here. There would be a lot more, were it not for the stabilising effect of a huge steel ball suspended by cables, and bolted into the structure of the tower. It does have a name, but at the time of writing this, it escapes my memory, I’m afraid.
Another splendid concert; Beethoven 9 with the impressive National Chorus of Taiwan, and Frank Peter Zimmermann performing Mozart’s D major violin concerto. And again with this flash encore…the audience warms up after this…and we go out to the balcony, and this time it’s a sea of umbrellas cheering, because of the rain.
The rest of the evening is short, because we have to leave at 5am for Malaysia. This is a bit of a drag, but the entire orchestra manages to get up nonetheless.
Really, the praise has to go to Miriam and Sue, who take care of all the things that would otherwise be overlooked, like unpaid room bills, and organising 80 or so people on and off coaches all over the place. That’s not the half of it, but I thought they deserved a mention!
I’m now looking out of the bus window at the twin Petronas towers, the impressive feature of the Kuala Lumpur skyline. That is to be our next port of call, and I’m looking forward to having a wander round the roadside markets where they do street food, and later on, there’s a plan to find the best curry place in the universe, which is supposed to be here, according to a reliable source.


About LSO

The London Symphony Orchestra is one of the world's top orchestras. Our home is at the Barbican Centre in the City of London where we play over 80 concerts every year, but we also spend quite a bit of time out on the road, touring all over the world. Recently we have toured to Germany, France, Russia, New York, Japan, Holland, Hungary, Austria, Belgium, Italy, Switzerland and Lithuania; and coming up this year are China, Taiwan, Malaysia, Japan, Hong Kong, Spain, Portugal, Florida, Romania and a return visit to New York, where we are resident at the Lincoln Center.
This entry was posted in Far East April & May 2007, Tom Norris. Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to Taiwan and Towers

  1. SUNNY says:

    Hello I am Sunny from Taipei,All I want to say is thank you for your performance in Taipei,They were perfect concerts~Although I stead outside total 6 hours in two nights..:P
    And thank you played “STAR WARS Main theme” for encore.I felt very very moved and almost crying…Because It is my first CD.:)

    Thanks again and please forgive my poor English,Bye.

  2. Jean says:

    I’m Jean from Taipei.
    I sat outside for Beethoven 9 yesterday.
    Although it rained, but audience were so touched and impressed by your performance.
    Thanks for bringing us such great time!
    Wish you can come to Taipei again!^^

  3. Ann says:

    Hi, I’m Ann from Taiwan.
    Thank you for the wonderful night. I had a good time indeed.

    Actually, it was a special experience for me to hear a concert in rain for hours. After the concert, I was surprised that I didn’t feel tired at all. Well, I guess I should ascribe this to the magic of your music. :*)

    I want to share one thing interesting with you. While you were performing, the rain seemed to echo to your music! It occasionally rained harder when there was a rising crescendo. And then it would drizzle for a while, waiting for another crescendo. I think that’s cool, haha!

    Anyways, I was enormously touched by your music, so just want to say thank you! Really look forward to your next visit. So… see you all then.^^

  4. Marcus says:


    I’m in KL and just attended monumental performances of The Spinning Wheel, Mahler 5 and Star War last evening.

    This is the 7th time I am attending an LSO performance live.Every LSO performance including those at the Barbican never fail to send an inexplicably wonderful sensation up my spine.

    Last night, I was particularly touched when Harding paid tribute to the players who were part of the history of Star Wars in 1977.
    Not sure if it was coincidental but I wrote to Sue Mallet before the tour started and told her how wonderful it would be to have the LSO play Star Wars for encore.When Maurice trumpetted the opening notes, it proves once again that no orchestra, and I repeat, no orchestra can replicate the LSO’s “Star Wars” sound, even if John Williams was on the podium.

    I was absolutely delighted to have a photogragh taken with the legendary Maurice after the concert and asked him to autograpgh on a quote he made when he started his career with the LSO playing Star Wars on page 178 of Morrison’s wonderful tribute to my favourite orchestra of all-time.You wouldn’t imagine how that made history for me.

    Thank you, LSO for bringing so much joy to the world ! I hope you will come around to the Far East more often.



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