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Eshima: Our Man in Moscow

January 21, 2014

EshimaAs San Francisco Ballet is opening the 2014 season this week (see next item), I thought it would be a good idea to ask the prominent bassist, teacher, and composer Shinji Eshima about it, but the automated response was: "I'm out of town Jan 6-21 often without internet. Sorry for the delay replying," followed by a surprising message:

Teaching in Moscow. Also found out Joffrey will be doing RAkU this September. Also playing Trout as part of the Menuhin [Festival] in February at San Francisco State University ...

Looking at the photo Eshima sent, showing him with his class (of what appear to be graduate students) in front of the school, a knowledgeable friend identified it as the Gnessin Russian Academy of Music.

Eshima and students in front of the Gnessin Academy "In the past it was called Gnessin State Musical College, the elite and prestige music school in Moscow." Further spotted: "Shinji is holding a beautiful vodka gift box in his hand." Apparently, his work was well appreciated.

From the note, it appears the Joffrey Ballet is taking on RAkU, Yuri Possokhov's ballet for which Eshima composed the score. Premiered in 2011 by the San Francisco Ballet, and reprised the next year, the work is certain to be produced by other companies as well.

Right now, Eshima must be approaching the West Coast, ready to land in time for the S.F. Ballet's Wednesday gala.

After decades of exceptional service both in the Ballet and Opera orchestras, he will surely be on duty, jet lag or not.

Janos Gereben appreciates news tips, corrections, and words of encouragement at [email protected].