After the success of last January’s inaugural orchestral trip to Cuba and last September’s exchange of seven musicians from sister-city Cienfuegos here to Tacoma, the Northwest Sinfonietta has completed a second tour with greatly reduced forces.
Conductor Christophe Chagnard, concertmaster Brittany Boulding and pianist Joel Fan were the only musicians to travel with the Tacoma-based chamber orchestra this year, compared to last January when ten members went to play side-by-side concerts with the Orquesta de Cámara Concierto Sur in Tacoma’s sister-city Cienfuegos, along with 67 private patrons, who also took guided tours of other cultural sites. This year, only 20 patrons signed up for the several-thousand-dollar tour, which meant the Sinfonietta could only afford to send its conductor and two soloists to play with the local musicians.
“We had a fabulous time,” says Neil Birnbaum, executive director. “But we don’t know why (more patrons didn’t sign up). Maybe it’s the economy, the election year, our marketing. You just never know.”
Birnbaum couldn’t say what the orchestra’s future plans were for the Cuba-Tacoma relationship.
“We hope to move forward. We’re considering options,” he said.