Monday, May 9, 2011

Update - Summer "Break"

Now that my college teaching and primary orchestra seasons are over for the summer, what am I doing to keep busy?

Never you worry.

I will be giving a recital at the International Double Reed Society Convention in Tempe on June 1, playing three of the Silvestrini Etudes and Pasculli's Fantasia on Poliuto. Both of these works were on my Chroma program, but since they were by far the hardest parts of that program I am putting in significant time in bringing them back up to speed. It feels event-appropriate that these two pieces, though composed over 100 years apart, are both by oboists. Both are extremely technical, pushing the oboe (and oboist) near to the limit, but both are completely possible, as the composers knew well.

I'll be running the Sunburst Half-Marathon on June 4, with my wonderful sister! I'm training hard and hoping to rock it and beat my PR.

I perform with the Peoria Bach Festival in early June - Bach's Easter Oratorio and one of his very difficult Orchestral Suites. I love my oboe d'amore, and Baroque music, and these large-scale oratorios come up painfully seldom in my schedule, so I can't wait. It will also be great to work with my friends and colleagues in the PBF again, after taking last summer off from this sweet little festival.

Late June is the Dake Academy - it's a little chamber music festival here in South Bend, sponsored by the Symphony, and I'll be teaching and coaching as well as performing in the orchestra and the faculty quintet. It's a jam-packed 4 and a half days, and I'll throw a party for the faculty in the middle, because summer cooking is fun.

In July, I travel to the gorgeous Upper Peninsula of Michigan. The Pine Mountain Music Festival is planning the New World Premiere of Rockland, an new opera by the Finnish composer Jukka Linkola. (Its Old World Premiere will take place in Finland a few weeks earlier.) I enjoy new music, and I love playing opera, so this should be a huge treat. My part looks to be rhythmically challenging, rangy, and exciting. I'll be tackling it soon.

In August, I hope to get into the studio to record my first official CD. This project is long overdue, and still in the planning phases, so anything could happen...

My Indianian fans, friends, and students should mark their calendars for two dates in the fall.

I'll be performing Qigang Chen's Extase with the South Bend Symphony on October 23. The piece is spectacular- yearning, brutal, and with an intense momentum that I cannot get enough of. It is based on the sonorities of the Chinese suona, which is a sort of double-reed trumpet, and is extremely well written for the Western oboe. Which makes sense, as the composer is a Chinese-born French citizen who studied with Oliver Messaien, who knew a thing or two about woodwind instruments. I have to use the whole range of the oboe and incorporate extended techniques like double-tonguing, pitch bends, glissandos and circular breathing. I love it and the preparation for it is kicking my butt.

Less than a month later, on November 18th, I will play the Ewazen concerto, Down a River of Time, with the Notre Dame Symphony Orchestra. It's a work I have done before, most recently with the Quincy Symphony last October. It's a beautiful piece, expertly crafted for the oboe, and I look forward to experiencing it again.

So I am keeping busy.

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