International Touring c. 1912: Better Late Than Never

Recently, the London Symphony Orchestra (LSO) launched a Twitter account that is publishing diary entries from timpanist Charles Turner during the orchestra’s 1912 United States and Canada tour. It has been loads of fun reading the Twitter size excerpts and all things being equal, it seems as though the orchestra is keeping the Tweets synced with actual dates and times from the original tour schedule.

According to the LSO tour blog, they’ve excerpted Tuner’s “best bits” and so far, they’ve been fun to read but the effort would benefit from a few reference materials, such as a copy of the actual tour schedule. Fortunately, there’s a copy of the actual itinerary (h/t Holly Mulcahy) available at a Japanese Geocities account.

But for the sake of convenience, here’s a copy of the 1912 tour schedule and concert programs you can use to cross reference Turner’s tweets:

Tour Schedule

  • 8 April: New York, Carnegie Hall
  • 9 April: Boston, Symphony Hall
  • 10 April: New York, Carnegie Hall
  • 11 April: Philadelphia, Metropolitan House
  • 12 April: Washington D.C. (matinée)
  • 12 April: Baltimore (night), Lyric Theater
  • 13 April: Pittsburg, Exposition Music Hall
  • 14 April: Cleveland, Hippodrome
  • 15 April: Chicago, Auditorium
  • 16 April: St Louis, Coliseum
  • 17 April: Kansas City, Convention Hall
  • 18 April: Wichita, New Forum
  • 19 April: Des Moines, Coliseum (matinée)
  • 19 April: Des Moines, Coliseum (evening)
  • 20 April: Madison, Wisconsin (matinee), University of Wisconsin
  • 20 April: Milwaukee (night), Auditorium
  • 21 April: Chicago (matinée), Auditorium
  • 22 April: Oxford, Ohio (matinee), Miami University
  • 22 April: Cincinnati (night), Emery Auditorium
  • 23 April: Toledo (matinée), The Valentine
  • 23 April: Detroit (night), Light Guard Armory
  • 24 April: Buffalo, Convention Hall
  • 25 April: Toronto, Massey Hall
  • 26 April: Ottawa (matinée), Russell Theater
  • 26 April: Montreal (night), Arena
  • 27 April: Boston (matinée), Symphony Hall
  • 27 April: Providence (night), Infantry Hall
  • 28 April: New York (to be announced)

Concert Programs

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8 April 1912 New York: Carnegie Hall
Overture “Leonora no.3” Beethoven
Symphony in C minor No.1 Brahms
Symphonic Poem Francesca da Rimini Tchaikovsky
Overture: Tannhäuser Wagner
9 April 1912 Boston, Symphony Hall
Overture: Egmont Beethoven
Symphony no.6 “Pathetique” Tchaikovsky
Prelude and Liebestod “Tristan and Isolde” Wagner
Waldweben “Siegfried” Wagner
Overture: Meistersinger Wagner
10 April 1912 New York, Carnegie Hall
Overture: Oberon Weber
Symphony in C minor no.5 Beethoven
Overture: “Flying Dutchman” Wagner
Tone Poem, “Don Juan” Strauss
Hungarian Rhapsody in F no.1 Liszt
11 April 1912 Philadelphia, Metropolitan House
Overture: Leonora no.3 Beethoven
Symphony no.6 “Pathetique” Tchaikovsky
Vorspiel and Liebestod “Tristan and Isolda” Wagner
Overture: Tannhäuser Wagner
17 April 1912 Kansas City, Convention Hall
Overture: Leonora no.3 Beethoven
Symphony no.6 “Pathetique” Tchaikovsky
Vorspiel and Liebestod “Tristan and Isolda” Wagner
Tone Poem: Don Juan Strauss
Hungarian Rhapsody in F no.1 Liszt


What makes the 1912 LSO tour even more special is its connection with the sinking of the Titanic. Originally, the LSO was supposed to travel to the US aboard the RMS Titanic but shortly before the onset of the trip, had to change plans and book passage on the SS Baltic. More details and some photos are available at the LSO website plus Holly Mulcahy published a fascinating article about the Titanic musicians that references to the LSO tour (it’s also timely given events unfolding in Louisville).

So kudos to the folks at the LSO, especially whoever came up with the idea for posting Turner’s diary entries in real time via a Twitter account (although it would be nice to have access to the unedited diary entries; just to see what didn’t make the cut). Hopefully, the endeavor will give way to similar efforts from other orchestras.

About Drew McManus

"I hear that every time you show up to work with an orchestra, people get fired." Those were the first words out of an executive's mouth after her board chair introduced us. That executive is now a dear colleague and friend but the day that consulting contract began with her orchestra, she was convinced I was a hatchet-man brought in by the board to clean house.

I understand where the trepidation comes from as a great deal of my consulting and technology provider work for arts organizations involves due diligence, separating fact from fiction, interpreting spin, as well as performance review and oversight. So yes, sometimes that work results in one or two individuals "aggressively embracing career change" but far more often than not, it reinforces and clarifies exactly what works and why.

In short, it doesn't matter if you know where all the bodies are buried if you can't keep your own clients out of the ground, and I'm fortunate enough to say that for more than 15 years, I've done exactly that for groups of all budget size from Qatar to Kathmandu.

For fun, I write a daily blog about the orchestra business, provide a platform for arts insiders to speak their mind, keep track of what people in this business get paid, help write a satirical cartoon about orchestra life, hack the arts, and love a good coffee drink.

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0 thoughts on “International Touring c. 1912: Better Late Than Never”

  1. Glad you’re enjoying it Drew. Credit for the idea goes to Gareth Davies, our Principal Flute and author of the 21st century LSO on Tour blog. He’s done a huge amount of research on this 1912 tour – there’ll be more on this later in the year, especially when we return to New York in October.

    For now though, we’ve pinned a number of photos, programmes and press cuttings from our archive on our Pinterest account, and are posting links to this alongside the relevant bits of the diary:

    By the way, a side note on repertoire for Lisa Hirsch – the LSO management wanted to play Elgar’s music on the tour, being the newest music, by a British composer, and him having a close relationship with the Orchestra, but the US tour promoter didn’t want it as a key supporter had threatened to pull out if they played that nasty new music. Familiar story? 😉

    Best wishes,
    Jo Johnson, Digital Marketing Manager, LSO

  2. I actually sent Gareth Davies an email several months ago about this trip (but never heard back,
    was I “spamfiltered” perchance?) as I came
    across the notices for the tour in the 1912 Boston Symphony program books.
    Also thanks to the wonderful Bridget Carr, Archivist of the Boston Symphony, I was able to
    see the Program Book for the tour. Those programs were numbered, and so the Boston program as listed above (also confirmed by the reviews) is incorrect. It was the same program as the first
    Carnegie concert.
    The programs as you see above were numbered
    1, 2, 3, 4, and the Kansas City program was unique to itself.
    So here are the cities with the programs:
    April 8th–Program 1 (correct)
    April 9th–Program 1 (not correct above)
    April 10th–Program 2 (also not correct above)
    April 11th–Program 4 (correct)
    April 12th–Prg. 2
    April 13–3
    April 14–2
    April 15-1
    April 16-2
    April 17-That’s correct above
    April 18-3
    April 19m–3
    April 19n–1
    April 20m–3
    April 20n–2
    April 21m–2
    April 22m–3
    April 22n–1
    April 23m–1
    April 23n–2
    April 24–2
    April 25–4
    April 26m–3
    April 26n–2
    April 27–(not listed in the book, but was 2)
    April 28 –3

    The top seats for the April 9th Boston performance were $3.50, an amazingly high
    price, which resulted in quite a number of empty seats on the Symphony Hall floor.
    But the balconies were full, and it represented Arthur Nikisch’s return to Boston after he was dismissed nearly 20 years earlier.
    Nikisch’s admirers prompted the the Boston Advertiser to headline,
    “At Times Enthusiasm of Symphony Hall Audience Reached Fever Heat Stage”, and writing for the
    Post, was the 26-year old Olin Downes, who noted that “the audience made up in enthusiasm what it lacked in numbers.”
    For the final Boston visit, the top price was lowered to $3.00.
    I recognize no names on the personnel list, save one–the Third Horn was Aubrey Brain, who
    would’ve been 19 years old in 1912…..

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