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Showing posts from April, 2010

Being Prepared

This is why I keep so many reeds around. Not because I ever thought I would want to use this misbegotten looking thing in public, but because today it was unexpectedly the best reed in my case for the task at hand. That task was playing Stravinsky's Petrouchka, a piece filled with aggressive articulation for the oboe and loud tutti sections that don't need to feature me but which I would like to be able to blow through. We were on stage at the Morris, a fairly dead stage that requires a very resonant, not to say buzzy, reed to project on, on an unusually cold and crisp day in spring that rendered all of my "good" reeds mushy and small.

My students know that I get on them when they have just one reed in their case - anything could happen to that one - and three is much safer, but twenty is safer still. After all, you only need one reed - but it has to be the right one.

Incidentally, we are performing Petrouchka this Saturday in South Bend, along with Beethoven's…

Redemption, and the Unanswerable Questions It Raises

Day to day last January, I was continuing to basically function at a basic level. I made it to engagements on time, I ate and dressed normally. I thought I was coping. But the six-month accumulation of sleep debt was such a knock-out that I wasn't really even aware of how disabled I was, until I finally got clear and started to recover.

Now, looking back at my journal, I can observe that that was the point where Zoe's sleep cycle began to turn around. She began slowly to sleep more reliably through the night, and even more gradually so did I, and now, three months later, I am beginning to have some perspective on the awfulness of that time.

I arrived at my teaching this Wednesday, for instance, after my normal one-hour drive, and DIDN'T need a ten minute nap in the parking lot before I went into the school. This would have been unthinkable in the wintertime.

My family and I compete most days in an online crossword game, and pre-baby I routinely won. Post-baby and in th…

Upcoming Concert

This weekend's Super Size Symphony concert is logistically INSANE - but I really am kind of excited to play the finale of Beethoven's Ninth Symphony with SEVEN HUNDRED people on stage. I can't imagine what this will be like, but I encourage attendance. Something thrilling is bound to happen.Sunday, 4/25, at 4:30 pm at the Joyce Center on Notre Dame Campus
Click HERE for tickets and information.

The Good Parts

I got up at 5:30 am on a recent Tuesday. I had come in at 11 the night before after teaching 9 students in a row, and driving home, and so obviously had not gotten much sleep. The gig I was on my way to was an education concert that did not have a lot going for it, from my perspective - a trip through American History with peripherally related orchestral music and amateur actors. We were playing in an elementary school in Nowhere, IN, and there were two shows in a row for the same money as one. I was playing English horn, which is something I love to do, but the downside of the EH is that you spend a lot of time sitting around waiting for your piece to come up, which is NOT something I like to do. I'd rather be playing. The school was a solid two and a half hours from my house, and the orchestra is a great group, but not one of my usual ensembles so I was basically out and driving before the sunrise to count rests with strangers for a bunch of ten-year-olds who did not want t…

Getting Up to Speed

I am merging back into the present. Revving up and returning to highway speeds.

I have on my desk eleven unread issues of the New Yorker magazine, and four Runners Worlds, and two Double Reed quarterly journals. I have just finished reading the January 18 New Yorker, and have been patiently working my way through the stack in order as new periodicals continue to arrive at their normal rate. I am not one to skip ahead. The result, of course, is that I have interesting, in depth knowledge of lots of things that were important four months ago and no idea what's happening in the actual real world of today. I can't talk to anybody about current events.

I'd just been assuming that eventually I'd catch up. That there would someday be enough leisure time in my life to read the New Yorker faster than one issue per week, on top of being a mother and a busy professional musician, maintaining my reed business, teaching twenty students a week, and training for a half marathon. …

Upcoming Recital!

I'm performing the first of my Spring recitals this weekend - Sunday the 18th at 3pm (Central time) in the Duesenberg Recital Hall at Valparaiso University. This is the same marvelous music that Paul and I played in Chicago back in January and February, and I was delighted with its reception back then. I'm presenting this Sunday's concert with pianist Joseph Bognar, who is a great colleague of mine at Valpo.

I think one of my favorite aspects of this program is how smoothly it flows from one piece to the next and how nice the energy arc is over the hour. Although there are only four pieces, and only three composers, we have a lot of variability of mood and character which keeps the program from bogging down and gives me a lot to do in performance. Moving from the clarity and structure of the Telemann Fantasie to the crashing opening of the Dring Showpiece is jarring, yes, but the intimacy of the Romance brings the audience and performers back together to explore the whi…

The Unfussy Oboist

I am struggling this week to be the Unfussy Oboist. This is my outside-the-house persona, and I'm proud of it, but it's also a personal standard that is often hard to live up to. I have to remind myself constantly that it is worth the work, and be vigilant about my own behavior in rehearsal and performance.

This week my issues were sound and pitch. We played the Schubert Unfinished Symphony, which is delicate and features a lot of solo oboe and clarinet doubling. This is inherently treacherous as oboes and clarinets have very different sounds and pitch and timbre tendencies, and made all the more difficult by the fact that our principal clarinetist is AWESOME and really turns lovely nuanced phrases at extremely soft dynamics which I want to support and blend with. This is a situation where the oboe really shouldn't sound like an oboe, so I needed a great reed and a lot of control to make just the right tone. The Unfussy Oboist does not spend her whole rehearsal period …

Upcoming Concert

Masterworks IV
Brahms Requiem
Saturday, April 10, 2010 • 8:00pm Sara Hibbard, soprano
Philip Kraus, baritone
An evening filled with peace and hope is the theme of this celebration of holiday music featuring Brahms A German Requiem. Over two hundred combined voices of the Notre Dame Glee Club, the Notre Dame Chorale, The Notre Dame Liturgical Chorale, The Notre Dame Women’s Liturgical Chorale and St. Mary’s Women’s Choir join in Brahms greatest choral composition. Click here for program notes.Location:
Morris Performing Arts Center
(574) 235-9190

Concert Co- Sponsor:
The DeBartolo Performing Arts Center