I'm starting the season off with a bang. This Saturday is Art Beat, South Bend's day-long celebration of the arts, and in addition to playing a symphony concert that evening (at 7:00 in the Chris Wilson Pavilion at Potowatomie Park) I am performing a half-hour solo set during the street festival (at noon at the Key Bank plaza at Jefferson and Michigan). I'm definitely looking forward to playing for a LARGE group of people who do not know me (yet!) at all, and I have good material.
I'll be performing several of the Telemann Fantasies, the Britten Six Metamorphoses After Ovid, some of the Dorati Cinq Pieces, and one of the Silvestrini Etudes - more if I get brave. The casualness of the outdoor venue will work well for me, as I can talk between pieces and introduce what I'm doing and put some of the weirder moments into context. It should be a good representation of what I do, and my goal is to raise awareness of ME, so that when I advertise my big recital tour in the spring people will have some idea of what I am about. If I bring attention to the symphony as well that can only be good.
I've been challenging myself lately to push my solo and recital playing more. I love playing in orchestras, but I don't like the lack of control I have over the scheduling, programming, and contract details. No matter how hard I work at my craft I am only one small part of the front end of the operation. We're renegotiating our contract now, and it is so discouraging to see our season shrinking and our pay frozen. I can't really do anything to improve the situation for the symphony - for any of the symphonies I am affiliated with - but I can take control of my own career.
The wonderful thing about my life is that with all of the things I do (multiple orchestra contracts, teaching, reed business, solo recitals) there's always something to do. It's actually a riskier prospect in this economy to have a great full-time orchestra job - not that I would turn one down - because as your one main employer feels the pinch it inevitably gets passed along to you, whereas any one of my diverse income sources could fold and I would still be fine. I can always find something to fill in the cracks. I figure I might as well make that something be frequent solo engagements. Way more fun than making reeds, after all!
So - this weekend I perform at Art Beat. Outdoor solo oboe will either be completely ludicrous or a brilliant career move. We shall see which it is…