Life in the slow lane...

By Maxine Kwok Adams  -  16 December 2015

They perform a couple of hundred concerts a year, clocking up air miles like there's no tomorrow, some are on first name terms with the people who work in duty free around the world. How do top soloists chill out and relax? Do they really want to return to the airport and board yet another flight?

Well I was about to find out as I booked a holiday to Santorini with my best friend Sarah Chang. I had been lucky enough to spend some holidays at her home in Philadelphia in previous years but meeting at a holiday destination, well that was something we'd talked about for years in the kind of awed reverence reserved for things that are highly unlikely to happen like winning the lottery or finding that perfect LbD in the sale. 

Maxine trying to look sea worthy with friends Sarah and Ray

The sheer problem of finding times when we were both free was like some kind of cosmic joke. We'd be in Asia days apart or when she'd get near London I'd be in Australia. But thanks to Disney, strangely enough, for shifting the Star Wars film recordings to LA, I found myself with more free time and a hallowed week in which we were both free presented itself. Sarah did have to take a crazy amount of flights to reach the beautiful island and by happy chance a mutual friend Ray Chen was free at the same time so deciding that we could use some muscle (lots of suitcases as you can imagine!) and eye candy we invited him to join us. 

The group emails started a month before 

"are you bringing your violin Max?" 

"Err no.. (hell no)  I thought this was a holiday..." 

Well of course both Sarah and Ray were coming from and going back on tour straight away so I did disappoint their hopes and dreams of playing violin trios with yours truly but that's life ;-) 

Then the suggestions for things to do. Horse riding, scuba diving, parasailing, and snorkelling were all mentioned. What the H??.. I thought this was to be a relaxing week?! What about lying by the pool/massages/eating... 

Turns out that these musicians are quite a dare devil bunch. I did manage to dissuade them from any such pursuits but agreed to the boat day trip which saw them running around the boat taking pictures of islands whilst I, having popped a load of travel sickness tablets, desperately tried to hold onto my ever churning breakfast.

That said, musicians are known to play hard and party hard. We definitely appreciated sitting down to a good meal at the correct time (so many of us live the pre-concert light snack/midnight steaks schedule) and talk of music was actually quite rare. Musician's careers are more than work, they are a complete lifestyle so it's great to step back from it once in a while and just chill. 

That said, I wonder what the hotel would have thought knowing there was a Strad and a Del Gesu hidden under a blanket in the wardrobe for a week.. 

About Maxine Kwok Adams

Fashion correspondent and violinist of the London Symphony Orchestra

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