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Showing posts from February, 2013

Beauty of Sound

I don’t exactly know why this week has turned into the Beautiful Sound week.  Shouldn’t every week, really, be a Beautiful Sound week? 

Many of my high school students are going to State with their solo pieces this weekend - which means that the piece they worked on all last semester and auditioned successfully on three weeks ago has had three more weeks of polishing following a nice ego boost, and every one of them came into my studio and knocked my socks off technically.  Every note is in place for these kids, and the dynamic plans and shapes are there for the most part.  But what they’ve forgotten in the pressure of solving all of the details is the sound. 

They are not alone.  My conservatory-bound senior, about to reach the end of a grueling audition tour, can play every bit of his program. He’s learned two or three new works since we started working together in September, and added etudes and excerpts and arias along the way.  He needed the reminder, too.

And I have my big set of…

Women of the Wind!

Friends, Readers, Casual Internet Passers-By,

I am delighted to announce my winter program: Women of the Wind!

It's an oboe and flute duo recital, featuring myself, Martha Councell-Vargas, and pianist Ketevan Badridze.  Martha and I have been talking for years about collaborating on a program, and working on this one with her has been an absolute joy!  You know that feeling when you’ve been friends with someone for a long time but never really worked together professionally, and then you get together and read a duet and it’s like you are two halves of the same person and everything is easy because you really feel the music the same way and have the same goals and also are beautifully in tune?  It’s like that!

Join us to explore gorgeous, tempestuous, intelligent, beautiful music by 20th and 21st Century female composers.   From the Coronation of Princess Isabelle to the chuckwalla lizard of the Mojave desert, these works are sure to transport you.  You don't know them - yet - …

Gershwin

I was hanging out with the fabulous Justin Hayford last weekend, and he mentioned his complete indifference to the music of the Gershwins.  And he knows what he is talking about- he has released four albums singing music from the era, and recently did a hugely popular benefit concert in Chicago featuring Gershwin songs.  Like me, he was raised in a family of music lovers whose tastes were formed in the 1940s and never progressed past the Beatles.  He’s also one of the smartest people I know, so I was inclined to think he was on to something.

But tonight we had our first rehearsal for our all Gershwin pops concert this weekend, and what I realized is that I have no critical distance when it comes to this stuff.  The rhythms and yummy harmonies are part of my childhood, they’re in my blood, and I can’t judge Porgy and Bess or An American in Paris with any of my educated brain.   I just absolutely love them.

So - come hear us this Saturday night.  We’re playing Rhapsody in Blue with THE MA…

Getting Older, Getting Better

So we have a concert tonight in Northwest Indiana, and may I say, I am so happy to be getting older.  I distinctly remember a time when it would have stressed me out to be playing Daphnis and Chloe, with its 12 pages of awkward solos and WICKED hard technique, or Bernstein’s Symphonic Dances from West Side Story, with the fiendishly delicate high solos and scary rhythmic holes to fall into and WICKED hard technique, or the Korngold Violin Concerto with lengthy complex rests to count and nonintuitive exposed entrances - but not now. 

If I am not actually playing EVERY note of the Ravel, I’m coming close, and if I don’t hit EVERY one in the moment, at least I know that I can do it in my practice room.  I am able to sit back a bit and think about musical choices and tone colors in the solos, instead of merely hoping and praying that the notes will speak.  I can enjoy the presentation of our soloist, the excellent Corey Cerovsek, instead of counting with all of my might and all of my cons…

SPEECH!

What a week.  It's been busy in a lot of ways, but the evenings have been particularly intense as the South Bend Symphony gears up for a serious Masterworks program.  The work ethic in our rehearsals has been very high, and everyone has brought their A game - and still it's a hard program.  I can't wait to present the Lutoslawski Concerto for Orchestra, Kodaly's Dances of Galanta, and Liszt's first Piano Concerto.  Saturday night at the Morris.  Details HERE.

The symphony Board threw an event last night for current, former, and hopefully future members and donors, including a Young Professionals Network, and they had some cocktails and then sat on the stage for our rehearsal to enjoy being up close and personal with the orchestra.  I was asked to speak at the event, and to introduce people to the concert experience, which I did with pleasure.  Here's the text of my speech, which I PRETTY MUCH remembered all of as I spoke...

Hello, Everyone.

My name is Jennet In…