Before the Yale Symphony Orchestra (YSO) performed in the Great Hall of the Moscow Conservatory this summer during its first-ever Russian tour, music director Toshiyuki Shimada feared there would not be much of an audience.
The concert was scheduled for 3 p.m. in the afternoon, and some of Shimada’s friends informed him that concerts at that time of day were virtually unheard of.
“This is a huge and historic hall; it is the hall in Russia, where all the biggest artists have performed,” says Shimada. “Tchaikovsky himself played there. And a lot of people were saying, ‘Everyone is working at that time. Nobody is going to go.’”