Retrospective: CLS in Mexico

Last week CLS musicians and a few members of the executive team packed their bags and jetted off to the beautiful country that is Mexico for a 5-day orchestral tour. Joined by our Artistic Director and Principal Conductor, Stephen Layton and cellist Matthew Barley, we visited the towns of León, Guadalajara and Mexico City, performing a uniquely British programme of Vaughan Williams, Warlock and John Tavener. In celebration of such a brilliant trip, we thought we’d share some of our favourite moments, photos and tweets. 

The first concert of the tour took place in the Teatro del Bicentenario in León. Known as the ‘Shoe Capital of the World’, it’s well-known for its leather markets. The Teatro del Biecentario was a beautiful venue the audience were particularly struck by Dan Bates, our Principal Oboe, who performed Vaughan Williams’ Oboe Concerto. Photos taken by (c) Arturo Lavín.

For many of the rehearsals for the concerts, we were delighted to be joined by kids from the local El Sistema groups who watched us in rehearsal. Below you can see our Chairman, John Singer alongside member and viola-player, Becky Jones talking to them about the music.

Next up was our performance as part of Festival Cultural de Mayo in Guadalajara. The Festival was part of Great Britain and Mexico’s ‘Dual Year’, which is a year-long celebration in Mexico celebrating British Heritage and creating new connections in arts, education, science and business. We performed our British programme of Vaughan Williams, John Tavener and Warlock at the Teatro Degollado; another spectacular venue and a great concert!

Our final two concerts took place in Mexico City at the Palacio de Bellas Artes. The evening concert even had a video relay into the piazza outside – we were so pleased to see so many people! You can read a review of the concert [in Spanish] here. The next day we returned to the palace to put on our long-awaited family concert with our wonderful animateur-in-residence, Claire Henry and her trusty companion, Freddie the Frog, who had flown out especially. She told the story of the ‘Mad Professor and the Lost Oboe’ translated into Spanish; luckily our Principal Oboe can speak the language fluently so we were able to tell the story!

Before Freddie’s star performance with Claire Henry in Mexico City, he very much enjoyed touring the country with the rest of the orchestra. Below you can see him checking into the hotel in León and enjoying the splendour of a box at Teatro Degollado. We hope he behaved himself on the trip!

Aside the concert, the team did manage to do a little bit of sight-seeing. One of our favourite visits was of the Guanajuato world heritage site (final picture).

However, no orchestra tour is an orchestra tour without the sheer glamour of jet lag, instrument transportation, late-night-tequilas and dancing to the local Mariachi band!

Thank you to everyone who helped to make this tour happen!

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