In autumn 2019, we had more concerts than ever before in the ensemble's history. However, my absolute highlight from these months did not happen on a stage during a concert, but after a concert in a suburban train.
We were on tour in Japan in November and had one of our concerts in the famous Bunka Kaikan in Tokyo. The concert went very well, the audience was enthusiastic and - as is the custom in Japan - queued patiently at the autograph tables after the concert until they had got our signatures on T-shirts, CDs or base caps. Afterwards we were invited to dinner and around midnight we took the suburban train back to the hotel, about 60 minutes away.
Our carriage was sparsely occupied, some passengers were asleep, listening to music on headphones or looking out of the window, lost in thought. We were in a high spirits after this successful evening and anything but sleepy. I don't remember who came up with the idea, but suddenly we felt like making some music and we took out our instruments and played Bruckner's "Locus Iste" by heart.
Some of the voluntary-unvoluntary listeners pulled out their mobile phones to film the unusual event. One of these clips ended up on a Japanese Twitter account and triggered a discussion that made it a main topic on Japanese breakfast television two days later. The debate turned to whether it was okay to suspend existing rules (banning "street music" on Japanese trains) just like that.
If the discussion led to a result, I don't know. In any case, we formally apologised for our (unconscious) contravention of the rules and have not (yet) played music on a train again.
But it was nice anyway.
Michael Zühl began playing the trombone at the age of 8, attended the music high school "Schloss Belvedere" in Weimar from 1999 and then studied at the HMTM Hannover. During his studies he received prizes and awards at international competitions (Kurt-Alten-Wettbewerb, International Brass Instruments Competition Gdansk, Deutscher Musikwettbewerb).
After working in various German opera and symphony orchestras (including the Komische Oper Berlin, Staatskapelle Weimar, Gürzenich-Orchester Köln, Badische Staatskapelle Karlsruhe), he has been principal trombonist of the Deutsche Radiophilharmonie Saarbrücken Kaiserslautern since 2014.