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Asia Audition Tour 2011

Audition and recruitment tour in Seoul, Hong Kong, Taipei, Singapore, Bangkok, Guangzhou, Shanghai, and Beijing

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Posted by Thomas Kline at 3:26AM   |  Add a comment
Auditions in Taipei

I have to admit that it takes a lot of effort to maintain a blog while on the road! I think I have been doing pretty good with daily tweeting, though, and those can be followed @klinethomas. I am currently 40,000 feet above Malaysia, on my way to Bangkok, and I will attempt to recount the past four eventful days in Taipei and Singapore. I will break up the journey by the last two destinations: Taipei Personalities (Type-A, ha, bad joke by David), and Singapore Slings.

My last posting left off on in the Hong Kong airport. We had the privilege of flying Cathay Airlines to Taipei, which was an amazing experience. Brand-new plane, great food (even on a 1.5 hour flight), and warm service. The flying experience for our inner-Asia flights makes the trip very special and enjoyable. We are flying Singapore Airlines (which I'm on now), which is the top rated airline in the world for service. We also flew Korean Airlines from Seoul and the experience was equally as enjoyable.

We stayed at the Grand Formosa hotel in Taipei which was splendid, although I wish I had more time to enjoy the facilities. We were in auditions from 9am-6:30pm both days, and by the time we returned to the hotel, we just wanted to crash in our rooms. The auditions in Taipei were held at the Cosmos Recital Hall. Cosmos is a neat place, with a coffee shop and restaurant in front, and a small theater in the back. I-Lun was our hostess and translator while we were there, and she made everything very enjoyable. They made us lunch each day at the coffee shop, and my favorite was the rosemary chicken (see photo). On one of the bulletin boards, I saw a poster advertising the Taiwan Marimba Orchestra upcoming concert, which was performing a piece by Gordon Stout, IC's professor of percussion. Gordon has a close relationship with Taiwan and it was fun to have a random Ithaca connection half way around the world!

Over the course of the 2.5 days, we heard about 65 auditions. Because time was short, we had to limit auditions to 15 minutes each, which made it difficult to stay on track, especially for pianists. But, everything worked out in the end and we heard some really great candidates.

One the last night, even though we were exhausted, Amy, Shaun, and I made ourselves leave the hotel. We made our way to Snake Alley, which lived up to its name. We started by eating at a very nice seafood restaurant (no snake on this menu). We chose our seafood from the tank, and it was brought out family style in about eight delicious courses. As usual, we played the role of the loud Americans, and we were taking pictures of everything and having a a lot of laughs.

After dinner, we ventured out into the alley where there was a night market with live snakes, snake products (blood, urine, and venom drinks, snake soup, etc.), as well as many other food and craft items. The night markets in Taipei are wild places and mostly serve locals. We were the only foreigners as far as I could tell. Amy and Shaun did some shopping and bartered heavily with various shop owners. I bought a fan for my daughter with her name written in Chinese. Knowing her destructive tendencies, I think it will last about five minutes after opening!

On the last day in Taipei, we heard auditions in the morning, and then headed off to the airport for an evening flight to Singapore. When we arrived, though, we were informed that there was an earlier flight that departed in 50 minutes. They were hesitant to put us on that flight because it was so close to departure, but they made some calls and got it approved (I LOVE Singapore Airlines!). We rushed through customs and boarded just in time.


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