The BSO Goes on Tour

March 26, 1994

We've been telling out-of-town friends for years that the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra is one of this city's underrated jewels. Quite apart from the superb acoustics in the Meyerhoff Symphony Hall, the orchestra under David Zinman has developed over the last decade into one of the top 10 ensembles in the country, a fabulous collection of virtuosos whose bravura and musicality are exceeded by only a handful of big-budget competitors.

If more people outside their home town don't know about the BSO, it may be because the orchestra has not toured extensively in recent years. Touring, along with recordings, is how big orchestral reputations are made. So it was with great fanfare that the BSO announced that it will make its first visit to East Asia next fall, a 12-city tour during which the orchestra will give 16 performances in Japan and Taiwan.

Tours nowadays are virtually essential in building the kind of worldwide image that attracts recording contracts, superstar soloists and prestigious guest conductors. By picking East Asia, the BSO is tapping into one of the largest classical music markets in the world. In Tokyo alone, there are no fewer than 12 full-time professional symphony orchestras, and the city is regularly host to some of the biggest names in the business. By proving its mettle amid this exalted company, the BSO is staking a claim to be judged by world-class standards.

Both Gov. William Donald Schaefer and Mayor Kurt L. Schmoke have enthusiastically endorsed the tour, which runs from Oct. 25 to Nov. 18, and will accompany the musicians during part of their journey. "While the BSO is calling attention to Maryland's cultural attributes, we will be meeting with government and business leaders to promote trade and investment opportunities," the governor pledged. "The BSO's tour of Japan opens a window of opportunity for Maryland, and we intend to make the most of it." We are confident the orchestra's trip to Japan and Taiwan will be as much a thrill for music lovers there as it is a source of civic pride for the folks back home.

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