Skip to main content

Musicians for Michiana - The Programming

This is Part Two in a series of posts about Musicians for Michiana.  (Part One HERE) All social mission aside, the whole point of a chamber music series is the music, right?

There’s something a little frustrating about being an orchestral musician, which is that you never get to choose what you play.  The programming takes place in an office far away from your place of work, on the stage, and you just have to show up and do the job at hand.  I love my job, but this lack of control is an inescapable downside. 

In contrast, a small series like ours with a small number of enthusiastic musicians can program works that really matter to us.  Every piece on every concert was suggested by a musician.  Every piece has a personal story associated, one which we will certainly share with you during the performances as well as here, on the website, in advance.   Yes, many of these works were my suggestions, and yes, there is a lot of OBOE represented on the series - but it is important to me to keep this project collaborative and I expect that in future years the programming will be even more excitingly eclectic than it is now. 

How eclectic is it, you ask?  We have music composed two hundred and fifty years ago, music from one hundred years ago, and music that is still being written.  We have music by Mozart, Milhaud, and Ibert - European white men with real reputations - and music by contemporary American composers you probably don’t know yet, like Jenni Brandon and Jeremy Gill.  We have music by local composers, living right in this town - Marjorie Rusche and Steve Ingle.  There’s music for string quintet and reed trio, but also for more unexpected combinations like oboe and two percussionists, or clarinet and cello.

In some cases, these are pieces I have ached to perform for a long time.  The Britten Phantasy Quartet, for example, on our February 2 concert.  Like all of Benjamin Britten’s works, it is deeply intelligent.  There is a lot of complexity in the construction and in the harmonic language, which of course I completely dig - but it’s also got a terrific energy arc, taking the listener from the softest string pizzicatos through an intense march to a beautiful, liquid oboe cadenza and all the way back to a single cello note.  Perfect.

In other cases, the works are quite new to me - Jeremy Gill’s Soglie, Serenate, Sfere is one example.  Jeremy and I were at Eastman together, and he lived across the hall from me, and accompanied me on piano for at least one performance, and composed a piece for my oboe trio which we played for our final senior recital, and has the same birthday as me!  In other words, I’ve known and respected him for years, but I do not have a long history with his large-scale 2009 work for oboe and percussion.  I’ve heard a recording, I like it, and I have two outstanding percussionists on board, but I have no idea what the performance experience will be like or what to expect when we begin rehearsals.  Can.  Not.  Wait.

Although we have our plans very much in place for this year, we’re always looking for additional ideas for future seasons.  Please feel free to get in touch.  Let us know what you’d like to hear.  In fact, how about this?  Donate.  Connect with us.  Be involved.   It’s more fun when you have some ownership in the project, as I’m learning.   Would you visit our Indiegogo page and consider offering some support?   Every little bit helps, and if you can’t donate, would you at least tell your friends?  All of them - the Mozart lovers and those who want something new and extreme.  The musically literate and those who want to sample our tasting menu. 

Later in this series: The Musicians.  The Music.  The Organizations.  The People.  The Venue.  The Success of the Fundraising Venture.  Stay tuned!



Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Resonance

When my students get too MOUTHY with the oboe, I put them in a corner.

Really.

They tend to play the oboe only from the TOP of their body, north of the collarbone, and it winds up unsupported.  Fussy.  Weak.  And out of tune.

So I back them into a corner, and have them stand a foot or so out from it, facing out into the room.  And I challenge them to find a sound that resonates BEHIND them, out from the corner of the room that they are not facing, to fill the space without blowing directly into the space.

It's a weird metaphor.  I wouldn't have any idea how to describe the physical technique to do it. When I find it in myself, it feels like my back is puffy and my body is round, and large, and barrel like, and also collected and zipped up, and supremely powerful.  If you know me, you know that these statements about my body aren't remotely true.  But that's what I feel when I'm blowing well, and filling the room, and owning my resonance.

I teach resonance.  I talk …

Five Minute Reedmaker: Length of the Windows

My Five Minute Reedmaker Season Two seems to be largely about experiments.  People ask me how LONG, how THICK, how SLOPED, etc - and I'm running the experiments for them and for you.

I've been posting these videos on YouTube, and sharing them from my Facebook Page, but haven't totally kept up with sharing here on my blog.

Here are the ones you may have missed:
Length of the Heart
Fallacy of the Long Tip
Moldy Cane

And here's the new one:




Here's the YouTube playlist with all of my other Five Minute Reedmaker videos.  You could subscribe right there if you wanted to - I'm dropping a video each week until I run out of ideas this season.
Here's my website, where you can order reeds or cane or ask me questions.  Questions will keep these videos flowing! 

Here's how you can send me your own reeds to analyze and improve on video for your learning pleasure!

Never Trust an Oboe, Part 2

(Part One HERE)
(Similar story HERE)

Mercifully, THIS one didn't happen to me.  But my poor student was playing an audition for his orchestra, and reached up with his right hand to turn the page of his music.  And heard a "plink".  And when, a split second later, he returned his hand to his oboe to continue playing, he found that his entire thumb rest had fallen off onto the floor, leaving only the post it had been mounted to.

With his hand now contorted uncomfortably, he finished the audition - ably, I am sure - and tracked down the crucial little piece of metal.  Evidently the screw that secures the adjustable thumb rest into its most optimal position had come out - never to be found again - so the thumb rest itself now can escape at will.

He devised a workaround - teflon tape to keep the thing in - but let this be a lesson to all of us.




Seriously, the oboe is not your friend.  It's like a cat trying to slip out the door - it's just WAITING for an opportunity …