Travel Diary: NJSO donors explore Italy

May 5, 2016

NJSO donors in the Orchestra’s Amadeus Circle are currently enjoying a musical tour of Italy, experiencing the culture and seeing next NJSO Music Director Xian Zhang conduct in Milan. Travelers are chronicling their journey as the tour unfolds—enjoy their dispatches from the trip! 

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Enjoying lunch with Xian Zhang and her family:

2016-05-02 Dinner at XZ s local favorite and lunch at Salumaio 01.JPG

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2016-05-02 Dinner at XZ s local favorite and lunch at Salumaio 02.JPG

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Taking in a private concert:

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The travelers visit Sforza Castle ...

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2015-05-06 Nikki and Dick Watson at Sforza Castle.JPG

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Alicia Benoist writes: "They paint violins at La Verdi, too. And they use the same logo as the NJSO's Amadeus Circle."

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Hope Danzis, Board Co-Chair Ruth Lipper and Michael Lipper enjoyed taking in the cars on display at the Ferrari museum.

2015-05-06 Hope and Ruth Ferrari (3).JPG2015-05-06 Mike 3022 250 Italia (2).JPG

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2016-05-07 Norm and Ruth with Ponte Vecchio.JPG

Lipper writes:

Our group was assembling outside the hotel for a day of touring. We're off to see our friend David.

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At the new opera house in Florence

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Benoist writes: 

Overlooking Florence after seeing the world premiere of Fabio Vacchi's opera at the Maggiore Music Festival. 

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Benoist writes:

We had the most amazing visit to Jamie Lazzara's workshop. Jamie has made violins for Perlman and the Obamas! An American expat, she came to Florence to learn her craft and never left. What a great visit!

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At the Ponte Vecchio

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In the Vasari Corridor of the Uffizi GalleryMay 8 - In the Vasari Corridor 01.jpg

Phil Neches writes about a special experience at the Uffizi Gallery:

We gathered at a nondescript door on the top floor, between galleries of Botticellis and rows of Roman statues. On cue, a guard opens the door. Following in the footsteps of Lorenzo the Magnificent, we descend a long staircase lined with paintings beyond what the main galleries can display.

After several turns, we are in the gallery corridor on and above the Ponte Vecchio bridge. Here we find a unique collection of artist self-portraits. Every Italian and major European artist you ever heard of— and even more you probably haven’t heard of—has his or her self-image on the walls.

We look down on the jewelry shops, tourists and river traffic. Above the fray, surrounded by the people who enrich our city and life with their art, we feel, well, a bit Medici.

More turns, more stairs, and we emerge in the gardens of the Pitti Palace, across the Arno River from where we started.

The Medici used this Varisi corridor as their exclusively private passage between their offices and gardens. Magnificent.

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Phil Neches writes:

Duo Pianistico di Firenze: Sara Bartolucci and Rodolfo Alessandrini wowed the Amadeus Circle travelers with Czerny’s piano four hands arrangements of Beethoven’s Egmont Overture and “Pastoral” Symphony at the Accademia Bartolomeo Cristofori. Cristofori invented the piano, and the Accademia collects historical pre-modern (before 1900) pianos.

May 8 - Duo Pianistico di Firenze 02a.jpg May 8 - Duo Pianistico di Firenze 01.JPG

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Benoist writes:

They say if you touch the nose of the boar you will have good luck and return to Florence.

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