On tour with Raphaël Schenkel, clarinetist of the Lucerne Festival Orchestra

What does the Lucerne Festival Orchestra mean to you?

First of all, it is a great honor being part of this unique ensemble. I gain a lot from listening to so many different inspiring personalities from all over the world. As everybody is there for the festival, there is no routine. The sound and the energy of this orchestra are simply amazing!

Three things you always carry with you in your luggage on tour (in addition to your instrument)?

I always have my swimming trunks and goggles with me. (I love swimming and every time there is a pool, a lake, or the sea nearby I try to find some time to go to swim.)

My headphones are very important to me. They help me to disconnect by listening to my favorite music.

A good book.

How do you prepare before the concerts (any rituals)?

First of all, I need a good rest. Normally I try to have a long nap before the concert. After that I take a shower, I do 15 to 20 minutes of meditation,15 to 30 minutes of warm up exercises with my instruments, and a mental run-through of the concert program. To have enough energy, I eat at least two bananas. Just before going onstage, I do some focusing exercises.

What is the first thing you will do after returning home?

Finally spend some time with my girlfriend. Unpack my suitcase, wash my laundry, and go to the swimming pool or for a walk.

What do you like most being on tour?

Discovering new food and new cultures and listening to the sound of foreign languages.

What are your challenges (personal and organizational) when it comes to being on tour with a wheelchair?

Most of the obstacles are in our head. I’m quite independent and I can handle most of the situations myself and I’ve almost always found a solution to avoid obstacles.

Airports are mostly prepared to meet the needs of disabled people, but sometimes taking a train can be a mess (especially in Europe). Also many old concert halls are full of stairs and I have the impression that even many modern architects didn’t expect a musician in a wheelchair. Luckily, I can walk short distances.

Geoffroy Schied (violin), Raphaël Schenkel (clarinet) and Irina Simon-Renes (violin)

Photos © Geoffroy Schied / LUCERNE FESTIVAL

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Interview by Jacqueline Saner | LUCERNE FESTIVAL

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