Skip to main content

Posts

Showing posts from September, 2010

Upcoming TOUR

I leave in a few hours to start my week of soloism. This afternoon I'm going to Chicago to run my Ewazen concerto with Paul one more time, and tomorrow I will perform the whole piece with piano at Lakeview Lutheran Church during the 11am service. I am delighted that the church is willing to host this performance.

I'll come home and teach on Monday, and then on Tuesday I'll drive to Quincy for my first rehearsal with the orchestra there. On Wednesday I'll be in Bloomington, IL, giving a masterclass and a reed seminar to the oboe students at Illinois State University. Thursday I will be in Springfield, giving a masterclass for the oboists from the community and the youth orchestra. This event is open to any woodwind players in the area.

Friday I'll be back in Quincy, speaking and playing for two student groups and a retirement complex and rehearsing that evening. Saturday I will give another masterclass for the oboists in Quincy, and then perform Down a River of…

Upcoming Concert, and Confession

The Symphony season is finally starting up again! With the shrinking of all of my little orchestras' little contracts, this is an unprecedentedly late start - but at least we're off.

Friday night's concert with the Northwest Indiana Symphony features a collection of opera arias and choruses on the first half and concludes with Stravinsky's Firebird Suite. Click HERE for more information.

I always enjoy playing opera and and will be particularly interested this time around as I am in the early stage of gathering material for my spring recital, "Art and Opera". If I hear something that will suit the oboe I can snag it, and if not I can still look for inspiration from the soloists.

The Firebird is one of the few repertoire pieces that has actually gotten harder for me since high school. I played it in youth orchestra, and at the National High School Honors Orchestra in New Orleans. (I know, big whoop. But it felt like a huge deal at the time. Watch out or I&…

Preparing for the Big Day

I am preparing my Ewazen concerto for performance. By this I obviously mean that all of the notes must be solid under my fingers, and the memorization has to be secure. In addition, I need to be physically ready to play through the whole piece effortlessly, and I need to be able to tap into its emotional arc right away, from the very first notes. At this point, two weeks out, my process consists of at least two complete run-throughs every day, plus a fingering/phrase-analysis run-through with one of my three recordings every time I get in the car and a mental run-through every time I go out running. I am working on keeping my mind engaged for the whole duration of the piece, and keeping my body language in character throughout. I am thinking about three things at all times - playing the oboe, and what is required to make it work; playing the piece, and what is coming next; and giving a performance, and how I should look and act to cast the spell for the audience.

I am working on t…

Warming Up, Part 2 - Scales

I'm a sucker for a system. I rarely worked on scales when I was young, and it's obvious why - there are too many options. They can be fast or slow, tongued or slurred, one or two octaves or full range. There are majors and minors and chromatics, and if you want to get into arpeggios and broken chords there are all kinds of diminished and augmented and 7th chords you could play. All with different articulations, different speeds, different emphasis. I could spend days worth of practice time just trying to get a thorough scale workout, and therefore I never ever did. Too hard, too overwhelming. This is why I love a system.

With a system, you can trust that over time you will get everything done. With a system, you can put in a reasonable amount of time every day and notice improvement quickly. With a system, you don't have to waste time deciding what kind of technical work to do on a given day. Just take the next page of your system. Give it 20 minutes, and even if…

Oasis

Yesterday she stood and stared blankly when people greeted her on the street. Today she waves Hi, unprompted, even to strangers way across the street who haven't noticed her yet.

Last week she developed her very own Silly Walk, a la John Cleese, with her left foot way up high in the air at every step. Since then she's been practicing walking backwards, and today she added a Groucho Marx strut with her knees and hips out in front.

All of a sudden yesterday we turned the page in her My First Animal Book and she saw the gorilla, and she beat her fists against her chest, just like I had showed her days ago.

She can slide all by herself now on the big twisty slide. She can climb all the way up the steep steps, sit down at the top, scoot to the edge, get brave, and slide down to where I am waiting. And when she can't quite get brave enough, which happens about half the time, she can turn around and climb back down the stairs.

I cannot get enough of Zoe. At 13 months she is end…