Countdown to Retirement: IPO Buenos Aires Tour

By Peter Marck


 IPO Buenos Aires Tour

August 27, 2016


40-crowd-cheeringToday, we are completing the 2016 summer tour of South America; my first tour to Buenos Aires was in 1980. Before last night’s concert, Zubin announced that there are already plans for 2019; he will be 83 and I will be 4 months after my 67th birthday. Will I be at home, or on tour with the orchestra? If I’m at home, will I regret not being on tour? Of course I’ll miss it. Did I miss the opportunity to see Iguaçu and Machu Pichu or will I see them on my own?

The streets of Buenos Aires look the same after 40 years; garbage flying around in the wind, “Cambio, cambio!” on Florida street ; the smell of steaks sizzling in restaurants, the smoky buses and trucks. My first visit to Teatro Colon started with a quiet warning from the Israeli Ambassador, “You are guests here! This is the fourth largest Jewish community; don’t make it difficult for them! Don’t get involved in demonstrations, don’t talk politics, and don’t mention human rights. ”

Only one month before Dani Barenboim’s Orchestra de Paris had been expelled for agitating. Un-marked cars accompanied our buses; it was enough for the plain clothes driver to raise a hand and all the traffic of 9th of Julio would come to a standstill. From the stage of the Teatro Colon the audience at the gala concert of the Jewish community was divided right down the middle aisle: on the left the community in black tie and evening gown, on the left, their guests in dress uniforms of the military. After three encores, Zubin “stuck it to them” and we performed “HaTikva.”

Over the years, the political atmosphere eased and like a cork in the ocean, Argentina’s economy rose and sank, boom and bust. A cola could cost seven dollars one tour and the next time fifty cents. The Peso could be as stable as the dollar, or the inflation could run at 500%; in the line for changing money, those at the beginning got a lower rate than those at the end!

1980 was also Avi Shoshani’s trial by fire running his first big tour. When we arrived in Sao Paulo, with an evening concert at the Teatro Municipal, we checked in to the Hotel Commodore. The orchestra walked in and within ten minutes, walked out: dusty, dirty rooms, no water, no light. 100 musicians dispersed in Sao Paulo to find a hotel room before the concert. The next day we re-grouped to be guests at the brand new Maksud Plaza which was to be the Sao Paulo home for the orchestra during the next 35 years. The Maksud was donated by its Lebanese owner.

Since 1980, the orchestra has added Lima, Bogota and Venezuela to the countries it visits, it’s played at horse tracks, arenas, parks and even in the poorest neighborhoods of every city. Maestro Mehta is truly revered by the audience.

March 2019 will mark a huge change in the life of Peter Marck. Join us on an intimate and personal quest through the tides with a passionate musician and IPO icon, and a dear friend.

For the first time and exclusively to IPO colleagues and followers, a musician of our Orchestra will share insights into the challenging but also liberating process he goes through – towards his final performance with the IPO.