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Showing posts from 2011

I Earned This One

I earned this cold.  I earned it by burning the candle at both ends all semester long, staying up late to write or wind reeds even though I had to be up early to teach, forcing the second practice session instead of the nap, caffeinating instead of exercising to get through my afternoon lessons. 

Finally, I earned it by giving in and teaching my final student last week, who was obviously ill and mucusy, instead of sending her right back out to her mom’s car with a Christmas cookie and a smile as I briefly considered doing. 

As a performer I don’t think twice about going to work sick.  I have played concerts with a bottle of cough syrup beside me that I drank like water.  I have played with broken ribs and recently excavated wisdom teeth.  It takes a pretty serious illness to keep me home, because that’s what it means to be professional. There isn’t a co-principal oboe waiting in the wings to slide into my seat and cover my job, and when I play freelance gigs it’s an article of faith t…

Upcoming Recital

Jennet Ingle What's Going On? I am giving a recital at Fourth Presbyterian Church in Chicago on January 6, at 12:10 pm.  This program will be a shorter, more traditionally classical version of my upcoming Moveable Feast performance. It is free and open to the public.

This Chicago program will feature a veritable travelogue of works, drawing the listener along with me to Tunisia, Naples, and Scotland, along with the wide-open spaces of our own nation.  I am also featuring the Bach G Minor Sonata, as a personal home-coming.  I grew up hearing and internalizing  the complex counterpoint and fugues of J. S Bach, and in many ways his works for a musician - especially an oboist - feel like coming home.  It's a piece that terrifies and thrills me, and I am eager to present it in beautiful and historic Fourth Church.

What Else is Going On? The full version of A Moveable Feast, starring myself, Paul Hamilton, and cabaret singer Justin Hayford, will be presented on:

Januar…

Zoe's Musical Beginnings

I've mentioned before that I started out on the piano by figuring out melodies.  Connecting notes and trying to learn how they worked.  I'm fascinated to observe that Zoe's initial approach to the instrument is totally different from mine.

She sits at our new piano and plays random notes, and tells us what to feel.  If she is playing slowly then the music is sad, and we should cry. When we are "crying" she either gets up and hugs us so we feel better (so awesome!) or bangs faster, to indicate that the music is now happy and we should dance. 

Her other piano game is accompanying herself - she plays "chords" in alternating hands while she "sings" the ABC song or Camptown Races or Sesame Street.  She makes us sing along.  She loves it when we clap at the end. 

When I was little I wanted to know how music worked. Although I make my living as a performer now, I learned about the interpersonal aspects of music later.  Her immediate interest is in h…

Working On It

I am still thinking about a method for getting my energy and focus better directed so that I might finally win a big audition. 

Several people have recommended books - Zen and the Art of Archery, The Inner Game of Tennis, Performance Success, The Power of Full Engagement - and these are all books I own and have read before, enjoyed, and drawn inspiration from.  I've got them pulled out and ready to refer to.

My December has not been generous with time either for practicing or for reading and intellectual speculation.  So many Christmas concerts, so much travel, so much stressing out over the phone with Steve in Tennessee, so many reeds due.

But what I am doing is performing.  I've had a Nutcracker or a Pops concert or at least an orchestra rehearsal almost every day since the 1st of the month, I'm treating this as an opportunity to really analyze what's going into my performances.  How often do I really focus well, and what did I do to get there? 

Here are some thing…

Upcoming Concert

Our annual Home for the Holidays concert takes place tonight and tomorrow afternoon, here in the beautiful Morris Performing Arts Center.  I've been playing Christmas Pops all month, in various towns, and despite the repetition and schmaltz I always enjoy these concerts.

There is something so nice about a community tradition like this.  I love to see all the people at the symphony who come only once a year.  Families all dressed up in red and sparkles.   Everyone out at the same time, enjoying the ornate hall and the festive atmosphere.  At this once-a-year pops concert I don't even chafe at all the normal symphonic rituals - the walking out and bowing, the formal tuning procedure, the standing up and sitting down.  I kind of enjoy this showing off of our traditions.

So come on out, if you live nearby.   It's fun to slow things down and turn off your phone for a couple of hours to enjoy the magic of the season with the Symphony!

DETAILS HERE.

I Fear the Bach

I admit it.  I am scared of J.S.Bach's big G minor Sonata.  And I'm not totally sure why.

I've performed it before, back in 2002, and it went fine.  There's no horrible backstory to make me dread it. 

It's beautiful.  I like the themes, and the interplay between the oboe and the piano.  Or, actually, between the two hands of the piano and the oboe.  The three-line counterpoint is complex, and interesting.  The second movement has a lovely melody that is almost romantic.  The third is a fun fugal romp in cut time, followed by a terrific 12/16 section that can't decide whether to lilt or gallop. It's fun to play.  So I don't dislike the piece at all.

Endurance is a factor in this work - it does go and go and go, for 15 minutes, and Bach does not give me a lot of comfortable long rests in which to regain my composure, but I have played more grueling pieces- the second Schumann Romance, for example, and the Strauss Concerto, and I don't fear those as m…

A Successful Accent?

Remember how Yamaha made me better?  Here's another awesome example of the same phenomenon.

I have a very young student who has been struggling to get her oboe playing off the ground.  She's hampered by the dreadful instrument rented to her by the local music store. 

The "oboe" she has does not sound good, which is not too unreasonable as few fifth grade oboists sound good on anything.  Regrettably, it also does not work.  If I adjust it carefully myself, turning all of the little screws (which are loose and wobbly in their holes anyway) to their most perfect positions, and then put a good reed on and CRANK my fingers down really hard, I can make that thing play almost all of the notes it should.  When she does it, the oboe basically thumbs its nose at her and refuses. 

As a result, the feedback loop she needs is totally severed.  When she looks at her music, and translates the dot she sees into an F, say, and remembers the fingering, and then tries to produce the sou…

New Piano

We just bought a piano.  I feel like such a grownup.

Now, despite taking lessons from third grade through eleventh, and despite graduating from a conservatory with a two-year piano requirement, I cannot play the piano at all.  If it were just about me we would not have bothered.  A piano is a BIG piece of furniture, and it weighs you down and ties you down.  It's a commitment.

But I remember having a piano in my house when I was growing up. Unlike a keyboard, or a record player, or even a radio, which an adult has to operate for you when you are small, a piano is always right there.  I spent hours just fooling around on it, and picking out tunes, and figuring out how it worked.  I could play the M*A*S*H* theme by ear before I entered school, and could pick out melodies from Disney movies or Broadway shows.  I determined that there is only one place on the keyboard that you can start Chopsticks and have it work out with no black keys.  I discovered a dominant seven chord all by m…

Willie!

I was listening to The Essential Willie Nelson recently while driving home from Tennessee. And the great thing about the collection is that you quickly forget how weird and annoying his voice is, because the songs are so beautiful and so diverse and so well presented.  But every now and then he does a duet, and you hear someone else sing - someone with an actual voice.  When Willie enters again, the sound is jarring, a little painful - and so awesome.  For example, THIS.  And THIS.

He's such an oboe.  Those entrances sound like the way it feels for me to come in after a beautiful clarinet, flute,  or french horn solo - the oboe has a harsh edge after the round, warm quality of the the other instrument.  I have to remind myself to embrace the sound of the oboe and not try to hide.  I love how unabashedly Willie Nelson uses the nasal bray of his own voice as an asset and how he draws us in despite ourselves.

And this is exactly what I want to do. When I give a solo performance, it&…

Slowing Time Down

When I am performing and things are going really well, time seems to slow down.  I am completely in control of my playing and of the music coming up, and I own the air around me.  This is not some mythical "runner's high" that only hits once in a blue moon, but a fairly normal occurrence.  Over the past few months, though, I have realized that it's not okay to just wait for that zone and hope it comes.  My out-of-the-zone performances are not bad - I can always play the oboe - but they are not good ENOUGH. 

Cases in point - recent auditions in Milwaukee, Utah, Indianapolis, Cleveland.  I go in, and in my first round I am unsinkable. I know what I'm doing, how to do it, and I perceive exactly what the situation requires.  If I make little mistakes they don't matter.  The silence between the excerpts is mine, just as the sound is when I begin to play.  In each case I am pleased but unsurprised when I advance. 

But each time, I return for the semi-final round as…

Nutcracker this Weekend

This weekend I am playing Tchaikovsky's The Nutcracker in Fort Wayne, with the Philharmonic and the Fort Wayne Ballet.  Musicians sometimes get a little Nutcracker-ed out, or at least we used to - I can remember seasons where we performed 6 or 8 or 27 repeats over the course of the season, and the 2 1/2 hour ballet does get a little old by the end of the run.

The music is great, though, and it's never a gimme - it's tricky enough that I really have to pay attention, and every year when I get the book there are some details I need to look at.  This season I'm playing the second oboe part for the first time ever, so that should be an interesting wrinkle in this piece which I know so well from the principal chair.

With the recent economic downturn Nutcrackers are being cut back all over the country.  Many ballet companies are performing it with recordings, or with piano. That's certainly less expensive than paying a full orchestra.  Many groups do a reduced orchestral v…

Ewazen Concerto This Very Weekend!

Here's the notice I just sent out about this weekend's event.  If you would like to be on my email list, please do join it in the right sidebar - I will never send spam but I will keep you well informed about my upcoming performances, with occasional emails like this.  Of course I do always mention them in this blog too, but sometimes people prefer info to be RIGHT IN THEIR INBOXES...

What's going on?

This Friday night, November 18 at 8 I will perform with the Notre Dame Symphony Orchestra at DeBartolo Performing Arts Center.  The piece is a great favorite of mine, Eric Ewazen's Down a River of Time.   If you haven't seen this orchestra you are in for a treat, and if you haven't heard the Ewazen then LOOK OUT!

I am truly looking forward to this performance and hope to see you there!  Ticket information can be found HERE.  Please feel free to forward this notice widely!


What is this gorgeous concerto about?

The title of this piece comes from an essay by Richard Fea…

Practicing Tomasi

I love practicing, and I thought it might be interesting to walk you through my process as I worked through a really tricky technical passage this week.




I spent a good forty minutes working on this line.  This two measures, I should say.  The piece is Evocations, by Henri Tomasi, and I plan to perform it on my spring recitals (which begin, optimistically, in January this year).

Besides being chromatic and leaping uncomfortably back and forth over the break, the lick is really fast, and the notes under the slurs are notes that don't want to be slurred to on the oboe.  The pattern is clear, but the intervals are not especially comfortable.

I have approached this section before and turned away discouraged, but this time I was determined.  I put on my get-it-done cap and set to work.

I frequently use this triangle to structure my technical practice.  I adapted it from Kenny Werner's Effortless Mastery, and refer to it when I teach, as well. 

Presuming that the goal is to be able…

Learning By Doing

We have been traveling to eastern Tennessee regularly ever since Steve and I started dating - about 16 years ago, now.  It's a gorgeous part of the world, but I've never paid more than a passenger's superficial attention to it.  Steve drives, I read a magazine or play with my phone, and every now and then he draws my attention to a particularly stunning vista.  End of story.

This time around, though, we had to split up a few times.  Zoe needed a nap and a snack, Steve wanted to stay with his father, so I was in charge of driving little girl back to our home base at Nana's house.  And I couldn't get over how beautiful that 20-minute commute was!  Rolling hills, winding roads, mountains off in the distance, fall colors, cows and goats in pastures right beside me.  When I had to do it alone, and engage myself in driving and navigating, I couldn't believe how much more I saw.

Also, I suddenly sort of understand the route between Steve's dad's house and his mo…

Winter Reeds

It's nearly winter!  Oboists in northern climates are quaking in their boots right about now. 

This is an ugly time of year for reeds.  The little boogers are extremely sensitive to changes in the weather, as you might expect.  You know about the wooden doors in your house which swell in the summer and shrink in the winter, and our tiny pieces of cane react the same way.  Only the reeds are calibrated and hand-scraped to 100ths of millimeters, and a micron of additional thickness in the wrong place can destroy the response or intonation or tone quality.  I am accustomed to the usual daily shifts - the oboe feels different every time I pick it up, and it's a challenge I am happy to rise to.  It is normal for me to use my knife even on a finished reed, and tweak it for the day and the venue. The two big seasonal changes, however, are harder to deal with.

I don't know why it's now, instead of three weeks ago or next month - the weather doesn't seem to have changed that…

A Rough Week

Last week was a rough one.  Last Sunday, while on vacation in Tennessee, Zoe rolled out of the bed and broke both bones in her arm.  Steve took her to the emergency room down there, of course, and we spent an afternoon with the orthopedist here once they got home.  She's fine - in a hard cast, happy as a clam, and scheduled for a full recovery in a few weeks.  Still, stressful and expensive.

On Wednesday night, while driving home from our gig in Fort Wayne, we hit a deer in Steve's car.  We weren't hurt, and the car was drivable so we got home just fine - but now that vehicle is in the body shop until the end of the month.  Insurance is picking up the huge tab but of course we are paying the deductible and adding on a windshield repair that had been needed.  Stressful and expensive.

After the week of work in Fort Wayne, I pulled my car into the driveway and turned it off.  The next morning it wouldn't start, and after an unsuccessful jumpstart and a tow truck we determin…

Upcoming Concert

This Saturday I am performing with the Fort Wayne Philharmonic.  The big piece is Sibelius's Symphony no. 3.  Had you ever played Sibelius 3?  I hadn't, nor had I even heard of it.  Turns out it's a gem - a lovely little 30-minute work with Sibelius's characteristic dark colors and fluid melodies.  I'm enjoying myself immensely.  At tonight's rehearsal we'll add the guitar concerto - Rodrigo's Concierto de Aranjuez - which is a long time favorite of mine.  All in all a fun weekend.

I'm playing principal on this concert, and I'm really noticing the rest of the orchestra more than I do when I play second.  That does make sense, as I am now responsible for matching and joining the other winds and the full group instead of just the first oboe.  My focus should widen.  But in another way it is slightly dismaying.  If moving over just one seat to the center can make a significant difference in how I perceive the orchestra, and raise my awareness of the…

Playing Second - and Learning!

So here's a question.  Am I doing it wrong, or is it just that every person does it differently?

This year I've been playing much more second oboe than ever before.  I've been fortunate - both Fort Wayne and Milwaukee are down a member in their sections, and have been calling me to fill in until they hold their auditions, so I've lucked into more of this high-quality work than usual.  And playing second is a very different task than playing first.

When I play principal my job is to be a soloist.  I set the oboe sound that the section needs to match, and my approach to the piece is what everyone else reacts to.  Of course I am responsible for joining and matching the rest of the orchestra, particularly the other woodwinds, but I have a lot of freedom to play the music the way I hear it.  Even when I play English horn, although I am technically the third voice of the oboe section, I mostly play by myself.  It's a different instrument, it has its own solos, and I listen…

Yamaha Made Me Better

The Yamaha oboe has made me better.  No doubt everyone is tired of hearing me rhapsodize about this instrument, but it's revolutionized my approach. I can just play, and if I do my job right it does its job too.  Believing that my oboe will work every time makes me relax. I have always feared low attacks, but with this instrument, my new reed style, and my new articulation technique I don't any more. 

The exciting revelation, though, came very recently.  My Yamaha cracked while I was playing 3rd oboe and English horn in Milwaukee several weeks ago.  I quickly sent it down to Carlos Coelho, who pinned it, sealed it, and put inserts in the tone holes. I got it back as good as new, and played it for several more concerts, including Extase this past weekend.  When I pulled it out Monday morning, the pre-existing crack had opened wide and a large new one had materialized.  My pretty oboe is on a truck now, on its way to service.

So now I am in Milwaukee again, playing second oboe o…

Chen Wrap-Up - Moving Forward!

Here I am again, in the phase immediately after culminating the project.  Sometimes this is an empty time, but right now I'm flying high and too busy to be sad.

I LOVED playing Chen's Extase on Sunday.  I love being on stage under any circumstances, and I'm utterly committed to that great piece, and I really loved my dress.  It was a wonderful day of being a star and I wish every Sunday could be like that. 

I was surprised and delighted with the reception the audience gave to the Chen.  I knew that it was a great piece, but was concerned that our relatively conservative Sunday afternoon audience would struggle to listen past the pitch-bending and the loud percussion.  I imagined them walking out, or at least leaving at intermission.  So the Maestro and I spoke before we started, and introduced the piece, the tune, and the techniques.

We played it - we were good.  The orchestra was wonderful, and I was pleased with my playing. I missed one obvious gliss up to a high Ab that…

This Is It!

Today is the last day before I get to play Extase with the orchestra.  We have two rehearsals tomorrow and one on Sunday before our Sunday afternoon performance.  And I love this part!  At this point, my work is done.  I can't improve my playing any more now - I've been living with the piece for 11 months and I know it as well as I ever will.  If I spend more time on it now I will only get tense and tire myself out, and since I still have Prokofiev 5 to play tonight I have no interest in that.

I have taken my instrument apart and cleaned and oiled it.  I have a case full of reeds.  I did a trial run with the dress today - checked the fit, hemmed it, decided on shoes and undergarments.  The babysitters are hired. It's 4:00 and all I need to do is rest until my concert tonight, and then enjoy the heck out of tomorrow and Sunday. 

And I cannot wait.

Click HERE for concert details and tickets.

Upcoming Concerts

This week the Northwest Indiana Symphony has a great concert.  Prokofiev 5 is one of the truly great symphonies - tragic, heroic, funny, hopeful - a huge range of human emotion can be heard in this gorgeous, tricky, troubling piece.  I have loved preparing it and rehearsing it, and we'll perform tomorrow night.  Their glossy promo is below.  I am not sure why it is so oddly narrow. 

Also this week, we did education concerts in Northwest Indiana, and are in the middle of a set of education concerts here in South Bend, so effectively I have spent every minute either working or in transit.  It's a pleasure, on the one hand - I love to play.  On the other hand, though, this is utterly exhausting.  Two services every day is not an unreasonable amount of work - many professional orchestras maintain that kind of schedule for months.  Most, however, don't maintain venues 75 miles apart.

This is a week in which everything is busy at once.  I have a big reed shipment due out today.…

Zoe is 27 Months Old!

Zoe called for me at 4:30 in the morning.  She had wet through her diaper, and was happy to talk about it.  As I was changing her she said, I'm very wet.  Then, What a wet Zoe! And finally, as I was stripping the bed, What a wet little girl!

I don't know quite how to characterize the change in Zoe this past month.  She's been verbal for a while now, so the complete sentences, including (some) pronouns and articles are not new.  What feels new is the way she interacts.  Instead of labeling things or asking for explanations of things she sees, she is talking about them.  We can have conversations about things she remembers, or people who aren't present.  It's a subtle difference, but a real one.  Suddenly we converse - things she says lead to responses on my part, which lead to new responses on hers.

She talks now about wants, rather than needs.  "Maybe go to playground?"  "I want a slide!"  "We go to Tennessee - maybe Katie come?"  &qu…

It's Not About Me

I have been reworking my reeds lately, and I am ecstatic with the results I am getting.  The tone is more covered but not less exciting, I feel, and for the first time in years, my pitch naturally sits down at 440, the "correct" orchestral pitch level.  In the past I have made my embouchure as open as possible and formed my approach around needing to push the pitch down, while all the time wishing that I could just blow satisfyingly against the resistance of the instrument and sing up to the pitch instead. In my practice room, when I was alone and working on notes and direction I pushed, and in the orchestra I backed away. I couldn't be consistent.

Now with my newly beloved Yamaha oboe and my new reed style I can make the sound I want AND play at the pitch level of the piano, and of the orchestra.  I can give an A by blowing up to the pitch instead of reaching down for it. (The A is always given at 440 - but some times that is harder to achieve than others.)

So as I warm…

Upcoming Concert, and a Speech You Missed

We're performing tomorrow night here in South Bend, and playing the score to a silent movie - The Phantom of the Opera!  I've done shows like this before, I think they're cool, I like the music we are using.  I only regret that we cannot see the screen from where we sit.  That's not because the artistry will suffer, but only because I want to watch. 

Last week I joined the Executive Director and the Music Director of the SBSO at a downtown Lunch and Learn event to talk about the Chen piece that I am performing in a few weeks.   It was a pleasure to do - I love to talk about the oboe - and hopefully we opened the door to some new listeners!  Here is more or less what I said:

Hi, I'm Jennet Ingle.  I am the principal oboist with the South Bend Symphony.  And the Northwest Indiana Symphony and sometimes the Chicagoland Pops Orchestra.  I teach oboe at Notre Dame University.  And Goshen College, and Valparaiso, and privately at my home.  I have a professional reed bus…

Preparing Chen

I am preparing Extase, by Qigang Chen, for a performance on October 23.  This will not be news to readers. 

Now that I am just a few weeks out, my preparation is changing.  For months I've been sweating the big technical passages.  Double-tonguing, especially in those lower left hand notes that want to crack anyway, was not previously a strength of mine.  Actually, a year and a half ago I would have said that I couldn't double-tongue at all.  It's taken a lot of patient work and a major overhaul of my reed-making to get to where I am now. 

Since late summer I have been working hard on the memorization of the piece.  A lot of runthroughs, a lot of listening, a lot of formal analysis and score study. I know the piece very well now, and have a clear understanding of what happens when.  My current plan, though, is NOT to play from memory.  There is no piano score, so I haven't been able to run it through in any sort of collaborative way.  If I had a way to feel out the ent…

Upcoming Concert

This weekend I am performing with the Heartland Festival Orchestra in Washington, IL.  The group is a relatively new arrival on the scene - it did not exist when I used to work regularly in central Illinois.  What I know about them I know because they have an impressive web presence.  I certainly see more of them in my Facebook feed than any of my actual orchestras, and now that I am here in this small town I see their posters and publicity up everywhere.  Other regional orchestras should be paying attention to this!

The concert itself is an absolute pleasure for me - I'm working with friends and colleagues that I haven't seen in years, and playing Beethoven, which is always a treat.  On the downside I am four hours from home, missing my family.  But does every gig not have its upsides and downsides?

Teaching Ewazen

I almost always have a solo program of some sort that I'm working on in addition to my orchestral concerts.  And I have occasionally needed a new piece for a student and had nothing on me besides my own music - so sometimes I will teach a piece I am simultaneously working on myself. 

I don't like it.  For one thing, it can be hard for me to hear another person's interpretation when my own is so vivid in my head.  So I might correct the student's phrasing to mine instead of listening for and accepting the thoughts they have about the music.  For another, I don't like showing them up by performing a work that they have in progress.  It just feels mean.  Maybe it doesn't make them feel bad about themselves, but I can't help feeling a little guilty. 

But I'm having a great time right now.  I'll be performing Eric Ewazen's concerto, Down a River of Time, with the Notre Dame Symphony Orchestra in November, and I have two oboe performance majors at tha…

Upcoming Concert

This weekend I am playing John Adams's Harmonielehre with the Milwaukee Symphony.  As usual, the orchestra sounds magnificent, conductor Edo de Waart is utterly inspiring, and I am pushing myself to play better than my best to keep up with those around me.  I feel so fortunate to be able to sub in this orchestra, because their commitment to excellence, as individuals and as a group, is a rare gift. 

I've said it before, but it is  a tremendous luxury to put the time in on a difficult piece like this - not just the time necessary to get through it, but the time to learn it and play it well.  As budgets shrink throughout the symphonic world, per-service orchestras like mine make do with as little rehearsal as possible.  The norm has become juuust enough rehearsal time so the concert doesn't fall apart.  We come as prepared as possible, and spend all of our time making sure we understand the transitions and the tempi, and then perform.  In Milwaukee there is time to discuss b…

Oboe Update

So I had this oboe.  I bought it because it called to me through the internet.  I liked it, then I liked it a lot, then I liked it less.  I decided to sell it.  Two people tried it, and both seemed to like it but declined to buy it.  It came back and sat on my shelf for a few weeks, until I pulled it out to see what I still had.

And suddenly it's the best oboe in my collection!  I love it for my Chen concerto because it is so easy to double tongue even in the lower register and to pop high notes out and to sustain a note forever.  I love it to play second oboe because it is so easy to sneak in low and quietly.  I love it in my recent Big Band concert because the keys feel so small and neat under my fingers that I can lay down the complicated jazz rhythms without having to fret about my fingers - I know that's a weird statement but if I don't have to worry about the oboe I can focus much better on the music.  I loved it even in a big masterworks concert full of romantic musi…

Upcoming Concert

This weekend in South Bend we finally open our official season with James Beckel's Toccata for Orchestra, the Korngold Violin Concerto, and Brahms Symphony No. 1.  And I feel pretty good about this program.

Brahms 1 remains one of my very favorite orchestral works.  It has everything - fatefully tolling tympani, gorgeous oboe, horn, and violin solos, a deeply joyful major key string chorale melody, and a rock solid ending that leaves no doubt about when the audience should applaud.  I played this piece for the first time in Youth Orchestra in high school, and I never get tired of it. 

It's one of those warhorses that is truly overplayed, though.  I have only been with South Bend for 5 years, and I know I have performed it here at least once before.  There is so much great repertoire out there, and I am hard-pressed to explain why we would repeat a piece this soon.   Do people really want to hear the same pieces over and over again?  Across America, orchestras are struggling to …

It Feels Sooo Good.

We moved over the weekend.  And we'd been working on this move - around all of our normal work and teaching and baby-wrangling - for a good month beforehand.  So for weeks there has always been a new busywork project at hand.  Packing boxes, wading through phone trees calling utility companies, buying paint and blinds, changing locks, pricing appliances, scraping bathtub caulk, gutting said bathtub, hanging a new surround, installing curtain rods, lugging boxes around, searching fruitlessly for the one cable that would actually make Sesame Street possible - everything else in my life has been on hold.

At this point it feels like I have always been running around multitasking with projects all around me in various stages of incomplete.  I walk into the kitchen and remember that I was about to hang pantry shelves.  I go in search of the drill and find it in the bathroom with Steve, who immediately recruits me to hold a big piece of plastic up to the tub so he can make arcane marks o…

Upcoming Concert

I am playing with the Fort Wayne Philharmonic this week, and we are doing Mahler's 4th Symphony.  I have never played this piece before, and I am having a fantastic time - the orchestra sounds great and it is a pleasure to play such a large-scale piece. 

This music is such an enjoyable challenge to play.  It is sooo romantic, and every bar - every beat, sometimes, has a different character.  The colors change constantly.  Every minute is fascinating, and challenging, and beautiful.  As a player I am engaged all the time. 

It's a treat, too, to discover this great work from the relative safety of the second oboe chair.  I can sit in the middle of the action and listen and enjoy everyone else's musical ideas and gestures while my job is merely to make the oboe work in the low register.  And I can do that without too much stress, so I'm having fun. 

I really hope the audience enjoys this piece.  Although I love playing it, in my preparation I have struggled to pay attenti…