Day #4. Rehearsal

Woke up at half past five in the morning when my phone rang, a fellow teacher from one of my schools who didn’t know where I was. Hung up in consternation when I told her, pretty funny. I of course couldn’t sleep again, Jón Lárus had woken up at half past three so I couldn’t really complain.

Hotel breakfast, nice but unusual, english and asian hot food, sausages and hash browns, boiled and scrambled eggs and baked beans, a spicy noodle dish, rice and all sorts of sauces and hot and sour vegetables. A bit more normal for us, yogurt and muesli, toast and jam but no cheese or cold cuts, then some fresh fruit, mostly various types of melon. Coffee/tea and muffins for dessert too. Pretty good all in all.

Up again, tried to sleep some more, would have liked to get rid of the jet lag quickly (HAHAHAHAHAH)

I managed to fall asleep, slept for 2 hours, not bad, I actually thought I was done with the jet lag. Jón Lárus didn’t sleep but went jogging instead. Out we went just before lunch, a concert in Sydney Conservatory of Music, The Con as they call it. Had a downpour on the way, had to buy an umbrella ( o/ in the comment section those of you that remember bringing an umbrella when travelling – I always forget and then must buy a cheap one when I get caught in the rain). Saw a handbag I liked in the umbrella shop (well, it was of course a handbag shop which also sold umbrellas to silly tourists). Didn’t buy it. Then.

Found The Con, a beautiful old building not far from the one and only Opera house. Obviously the old building was way too small for the conservatory so a new house had been built beside the old, fortunately the connection didn’t destroy the old house, I hate when people do that sort of thing.

First concert of the day was a piano recital, 4 pieces, liked 2 of them, the other 2 less. Last piece was by a young American composer, all about money swindles and “get rich quick” schemes, electronic sounds along with the piano. Really interesting and fun piece. Wouldn’t mind having a recording, actually.

After the concert we went for a walk through The Rocks, the oldest part of Sydney I expect. Really nice area but of course more expensive than the Chinatown where our hotel was located.

Found the place where my brother and sister-in-law had had lunch, with view of the Opera, made a mental note to go there in our second week when the festival would be finished. Probably wouldn’t have time for it in between the concerts, always at 13:00, 18:00 and 20:00 and in between meetings and cocktail parties and such, also some of the concerts were out of town. One must of course mingle with the other composers and musicians at the festival, otherwise not much point in going at all.

Found Sydney’s most exciting wine shop, Australian Wine Centre, Jón had read about it and we had meant to find it but then just saw it when we walked around Circular Quay (which of course isn’t circular in the least). Bought a couple of bottles to bring back to Iceland and one to drink in the hotel.

About half past 4 we went to where we had been told the Sydney Children’s Choir would be rehearsing my piece. Just as well we decided not to be last minute, they didn’t rehearse there at all.


This was a big house on an amazing location overlooking Circular Quay and the Opera house, Sydney’s Music Information Centre plus more arts offices. Lovely place. The rehearsal was a bit further out at the docks, in the rehearsal rooms for the Sydney Philharmonic Orchestra. Almost had to run there and made it at 5 o clock exactly.

Sydney Children’s Choir is a lovely and amazing choir, the conductor genial, she obviously got the very best from the children, knew what she wanted and how to get it. The choir sang the piece almost flawlessly, I only had one small thing to mention. Looked very much forward to hearing the concert, 2 days later.

Back to The Con after the rehearsal, there we heard a percussion- and saxophone concert. Pretty good pieces, especially the first one in which the instruments were all sorts of plastic things – playing on plastic wastebaskets with plastic combs and all sorts of other funny instruments.

This concert, like the piano concert the day before, was live on the radio, introduced by a radio host for the ABC Classical station. Pretty good. Jón Lárus fell asleep during this concert but I managed to stay awake – also had had about 4 hours more sleep than he. After the concert we were all invited to a reception in the Aurora Bar (Southern Lights Bar, I suppose). Got a couple of glasses of red wine and a pretty good chat with some colleagues – and with the radio host. He was excited to meet me and wanted me to pronounce the name of my piece into his dictaphone. I made it really Northern and hard, extra R-s, Carrrrrmen Frrrratrum Arrrrrvalium. Suppose I sounded like our volcano.


Everyone we talked to that day, from the wine store assistant, through a diplomat from New Guinea and a composer from Estonia to the radio host had to ask us a lot of questions about the volcanic eruptions. Well, the wine store guy actually knew more than we did, haven’t seen any news for a couple of days, he could tell us old Eyjafjallajökull had started spewing more again. Everybody also asked if we had had any trouble getting away from the country. Well, we hadn’t but also hoped to get back without trouble…

Every single Sydney citizen we met were really nice and helpful, I love the atmosphere in the city. People are quick to help hapless lost tourists without being asked and shop assistants know how to be helpful without being pushy.

Skipped the last concert, just walked to the hotel, 2 1/2 km. Unbelievably good to don the pyjamas, crawl under the sheets, drink a glass of red wine from a hotel water glass and write diary on my computer.

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June 2010

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