Air on a violin as Stanford musicians stage concert on delayed plane
University orchestra members on their way home to California after a series of sell-out shows at the Bermuda Festival staged a performance on a plane after their flight was delayed.
Roger Xia and Richard Cheung, violinists with the Stanford Philharmonia, gained international attention after they played an on-board duet as the group were en route from Bermuda back to California.
Mr Xia told the Stanford Daily newspaper that they decided to break out their instruments after it was announced that the Atlanta-to-San Francisco leg of their journey home would be delayed.
He said: “I was kind of falling asleep, and all of a sudden I hear Richard call my name and say, ‘Let’s play’.”
The two retrieved their violins from the overhead storage bins and performed an excerpt of Chevalier de Saint-Georges’ Symphonie Concertante in G major in the aircraft’s aisle.
The Stanford Philharmonia, made up of students, staff and graduates of the prestigious university, performed three concerts as part of this year’s Bermuda Festival.
Paul Phillips, the director of orchestral studies at Stanford, said discussions about bringing the philharmonia to Bermuda began before the start of the Covid-19 pandemic.
It was the first trip by one of Stanford’s orchestras since 2017 and the first trip by any large Stanford music ensemble since 2019, when the Chamber Chorale went on its last tour.
Mr Phillips said: “There was a tremendous amount of joy, both on our end, as the performers, and from the audiences in Bermuda, who hadn’t been able to attend any live musical performances in over two years prior to our concerts.”