Germany and Belgium in Pictures: Kate's Tour Takeover

Second Violinist Kate Suthers took over the CBSO's Instagram account during the Orchestra's recent tour to Germany and Belgium - we hope you enjoy browsing her photos below, and if you're an Instagrammer yourself, don't forget to follow us @thecbso!

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"Hello Instagram! This is Kate from #Team2ndViolin, and I’m super excited to be in charge of the CBSO’s account for the next week or so. I’ll be posting things every day to give little glimpses into what happens when 75+ orchestral musicians are on the road. So, without further ado..."

Sunday 19 November, Part 1

What a great start to the tour in Dortmund! Such a lovely hall and an incredibly warm audience 

This sculpture (?) lives outside the Konzerthaus - who doesn’t dream of having a musical winged rhino? 



Sunday 19 November, Part 2

Last night we arrived in Köln and a large group of us went for a meal of traditional German treats (overheard on tour, “if I don’t manage 7 schnitzels on this 10 day tour, I’m not doing well”)

In this batch of photos we have: Gabriel Dyker our Player Chair tackling a Schweinhaxe, a sample of schnitzels, a well deserved toast with local beer, and said beer in close up.

Monday 20 November

In a relaxed start to the tour, yesterday we enjoyed a day off in Cologne. The weather was a bit dour and drab (cue fond memories of our home #seeyouinbirmingham!) but that did nothing to detract from the beauty of the city, particularly the spectacular Gothic cathedral.

In this selection we have - moody internal and external details as well as interior snapshots of Cologne Cathedral, and some of the varied culinary options available to sample (more group shots to follow)



Monday 21 November

Yesterday was a classic tour day. 8:45am hotel departure, travel (train, four hours of the orchestra looking like a noise-cancelling Bose catalogue), late lunch, concert, eat/drink, sleep, repeat 

Photos 1 & 2 are stage perspectives looking into the auditorium of the impressive Gasteig from a) my seat in the first half, and b) from the hot seat of our multi-talented Timp Player Matt Hardy, who has a crucial 16 note contribution to one of our tour encores...! Photos 3 & 4 are post-concert; one of the best things about tour is relaxing with friends and colleagues in new settings, and experiencing cities at Witching Hour.


Wednesday 22 November

Yesterday we returned to Cologne, and I decided that enough was enough and I needed to find good coffee! Being Australian, I am a self-confessed coffee snob, and whilst there are many wonderful things in Germany, coffee might not be one of them... So, after some extensive research, I took advantage of the glorious weather to pay pilgrimage to Bad Ape. One flat white later and I was a new woman, ready to give my all in our fourth concert of the tour...

Photo 1: Bad Ape, Good Coffee. Photos 2 & 3: beautiful weather and a chance to take in the views from the top of the Cologne Cathedral Spires - LOTS of stairs apparently (photo credit: Caroline Simon, also from #Team2ndViolins). Photo 4: the wonderfully shaped hall at the Kölner Philharmonie. Apparently they have a lucky spider who lives near the entrance to the stage! And finally, Photo 5: meet Claire and Jenny, two of our wonderful concerts team who make sure we’re where we need to be and we’re happy on and off stage. They’re unsung superstars and I’ll be sharing some more of our CBSO touring team with you over the next few days. Love from a tour bus en route to Antwerp!


Thursday 23 November

In the last 24 hours we have ventured momentarily out of Germany and into Belgium, specifically the beautiful city of Antwerp. Our concert was at the newly refurbished Queen Elisabeth Hall (soon to celebrate its 1st birthday after reopening). We welcomed many colleagues who joined us for a larger programme including La Mer (#debussyfestival #march2018!).

Antwerp is full of incredible architecture, amazingly detailed and well preserved. There’s also a load of building work going on (just like in Birmingham) but I’d be delighted to spend more time in the city in future. Here we have: a detail from Antwerp Centraal Station, some increased brass weaponry (I love that our tuba player Graham travels with a book of Advanced Tuba Studies), two of our superstar roadies - Alan and Mike - and, when in Belgium, it’s customary to try local flavours (right!?) like this hugely delicious cherry sour beer!


Friday 24 November

Scenes from a long travel day from Antwerp to Hamburg via bus and train...unless you were a travel deviant (like me!) in which case it was a long lunch in Brussels and a short flight! It was awesome to see Birmingham featured in the Brussels Airlines inflight magazine. Today’s personnel snapshot is of Rob, from our fabulous team of roadies who on this tour has been driving through the night between each venue, and the lovely Bryony from #Team2ndViolins who in this picture has just experienced one of Rob’s magic tricks!


Saturday 25 November

It was SO EXCITING to be back at the amazing Elbphilharmonie last night!

Lots of us are still buzzing from our first visit to the hall in July and there was a palpable buzz in the air leading up to our return. The hall is sensational, the audience was incredibly warm and it was one of those performances where it all came together - the orchestra, Mirga and phenomenal soloist Vilde Frang - bravo to all!


Couldn’t resist a few more shots from the "Elbphi"...


Sunday 26 November

Our penultimate stop on this tour was Frankfurt. After a painless train journey we arrived mid-afternoon and set about finding the next schnitzel/lunch and then onto the beautiful Alte Oper for a quick soundcheck and concert.

Walking around Frankfurt is a joy - approaching the city you are faced with a sharp, modern skyline, yet around town there are endless gingerbread house-style streets and squares. There’s definitely a festive feeling in the air too, the Christmas markets are being set up everywhere and the air is cold and crisp.

Last night in Frankfurt was our final performance of the Elgar Violin Concerto with Vilde Frang, but we’ve been incredibly lucky on this tour to collaborate with her. I think she’s seriously amazing.

The audience response in the Alte Oper - as everywhere! - was hugely enthusiastic which I think spurred the orchestra to give huge amounts of energy on a day when many of us were tired after a long tour. This made it extra special when Mirga gave her flowers at the end of the concert to #Team2ndViolins (I’m clearly unbiased!)


Thursday 30 November

We made it! After a final, fabulous concert in Stuttgart on Monday it was time to party! 

We were all in the mood to celebrate a great tour, and as an extra bonus the party coincided with our tour librarian’s birthday - the truly awesome Kirsty from #Team1stViolins.

Today we’re back on home turf in Symphony Hall for a final Beethoven 6.