Advertisement

He slept through his dream

By
RICHARD M. SUDHALTER

LONDON, Sept. 28, 1971 (UPI) -- Hiroyuki Ohno spent $1,358 and flew halfway round the world for a dream, then dreamed it all away by taking a nap.

Dr. Otto Klemperer was conducting Brahms' third symphony at London's Royal Festival Hall. At home in Tokyo, Hiroyuki read of the concert and decided he had to be there.

Advertisement

To the 16-year old cello student, son of a Tokyo publisher, Klemperer was a god on the podium.

With a bit of parental help, Hiroyuki booked the 12,500 miles round trip flight to London and arrived early Sunday in plenty of time for the concert that evening.

He met David Richardson, concert manager for Klemperer's New Philharmonia Orchestra, who arranged a front row seat for him. After a whirlwind round of sightseeing, Hiroyuki returned to his hotel room at about 4:45 in the afternoon and lay down exhausted for a catnap.

The concert went magnificently. One critic hailed Klemperer's penetration of "the inner core of the Brahms' poetry ... invested with wonderfully sustained dark hues" -- just the sort of music Hiroyuki had flown halfway around the world to hear.

As the final ovation thundered through the festival hall, Richardson glanced down at the Japanese visitor's front row seat -- and started. It was empty.

"I telephoned him immediately," Richardson said. "He had slept through the whole concert, probably exhausted by the time changes in the flight from Japan.

"I went straight to his hotel. He was too dazed to say anything, and completely shattered to have missed the concert," he said.

Richardson thought fast as the boy sat on the side of the hotel room bed weeping quietly. He picked up the telephone.

Less than an hour later, Hiroyuki was still dazed -- this time at the idea he was actually sitting alone with Klemperer in the 86-year-old conductor's private study, talking about music.

In parting, the old man gave the boy a personal treasure, one of the batons with which he has conducted Brahms, Beethoven and other favorites of Hiroyuki's in the past.

The boy flew home to Japan Monday evening with a promise: "I will be back," he said at the airport. "And next time I will not fall asleep until after the concert."

Latest Headlines