Over the years I have had a lot of experience working with musicians. I have photographed some of the biggest acts in rock-n-roll. I have also had the chance to shoot solo artists in small, intimate settings. No matter the scale, there is nothing quite like photographing live music. For me, shooting a concert is the epitome of "event" and one of my favorite jobs as a professional photographer.
I was recently contacted by the Konzerthaus Orchester Berlin (KOB). The group was about to embark on their 2017 Asian tour and wanted the first stop of their run documented. I was asked to shoot the group's rehearsal, backstage banter, and portions of their Tokyo performance. I was very pleased to be considered for the job and jumped at the chance to get behind the scenes with an ensemble as renowned as KOB.
Upon arrival, I was led into the depths of Sumida Triphony Hall, an exquisite venue on the outskirts of Tokyo. After the customary greetings and an appropriate amount of bowing, I made my way through the maze of greenrooms to the stage landing. It was then that I stopped in my tracks, a bit dumbfounded.
With a lot of backstage experience, I am rarely surprised by much. But this scene thoroughly impressed me. I was taken aback by the magnitude of KOB's tour production: 120 musicians from 19 different countries, a vibrant conductor, publicists, handlers, road crew, and sound techs all scurried around me.
For a moment, I let my mind wander away from photography to a place of sheer amazement. Who was responsible for getting these classically trained musicians and their instruments to Tokyo? Who arranged accommodation? What did the airlines say when over three hundred oversized hardshell cases came rolling into the airport lobby? Who insured the millions of dollars worth of antique instruments that lay about? I was star struck, not by a celebrity, but by a secret star who oiled this machine. I wanted to shake that person's hand.
Instead of seeking out the mastermind-tour-manager for an autograph, I shook my head at the scene and reminded myself why I was in one of the most beautiful venues I had ever seen.With my head on straight, I got to work. For the next few hours I happily clicked away, providing KOB with imagery that will later remind them of the first stop of their 2017 Asian tour.
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