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IDRS 2014 - Day Two and OUT

I'm writing my Day Two report while all of my colleagues and friends, new and old, are well into their Day Three experience.  I was terribly sad to leave NYC, and IDRS.  In past years I've found myself sort of oboe-ed out by the third or fourth day, but I was nowhere near that point last night when I had to begin my schlep to the airport.  On the up side, I am home and spent the morning with Zoe and Steve, and I'm safely on the correct side of Lake Michigan well before my concert tonight, which was the important purpose of my travel plans - but there are SO MANY MORE great events happening at NYU.  Best of luck to everyone performing!

Yesterday, among other performances, I enjoyed THREE recitals featuring music for oboe and bassoon.  Be prepared for a husband-wife recital coming down the pike in the next year or two, as I loved much of the new music that I heard. 

First I enjoyed hearing ToniMarie Marchioni and two of her colleagues from the University of Kentucky.  Beautiful, stylish, elegant playing, in some baroque works that I hadn't heard before. 

Nermis Mieses and Susan Nelson put on a terrific show, and I loved hearing their brand new pieces played spectacularly well.  Just a few hours later I enjoyed hearing John Dee and Tim McGovern present even more new-to-me works.  What a treat to be able to experience this much high-level playing all in one day!

Also, our large double reed ensemble performed, and I don't think I had expected it to be as enjoyable or as well-received as it was.  With over 30 oboes, d'amores, English horns, bassoons, and contras on the stage, we played five brand new works, and four of the composers were present, and people actually CAME to hear it, and it went well, and it was fun.  I got a chance to speak with Eric Ewazen - whose concerto, Down a River of Time, I've raved about before- and he's the most delightful man ever so that was quite a treat.

ALSO, I had a wonderful time over at the exhibition hall.  I played some great oboes - the Marigaux Altuglass and Howarth XL were standouts for me, and there was an AMAZING Bulgheroni Musa which might well be my next oboe, just as soon as I can afford it. 

I got to handle and crow one of the new Légère English horn reed prototypes. Looking forward to seeing how those progress.

I looked at an adjustable width shaper tip.  Very cool idea - not for me at this point, though.  I figured that with all of the money I have invested in brand-name shaper tips right now I can make just about anything that a customer could ask for.  If I were starting out, I would LOVE the thought of buying one tip that could take me from winter to summer, and from sea level to altitude. 

I experimented with a lefreQue soundbridge, which I was sort of mixed on.  I heard the difference in the sound when the oboist next to me put it on her instrument.  I could hear the difference between the silver and the red brass lefreQue, and I could hear the difference when she removed it.  On my own oboe I could not feel or hear a change, but people around me remarked on the change in the size of the sound.  Sounds like a gimme, right?  A bigger sound with no change in response or effort on my part.  But I decided against purchasing one, on philosophical grounds. 

I am the Unfussy Oboist.  When I walk onto the stage to perform I bring only my instrument.  I don't have an extra cup for water or six swabs or 12 reeds soaking and ready.  I just want to make it work, simply, like a non-oboe instrumentalist.  This fussy thing which is a challenge to attach and keeps falling apart in my hands and needs to be readjusted every time the reed comes out of the socket - to swab, for instance - is no part of that.  I'm going to keep an eye on the technology and see where it goes.  But I'm not buying one now.

Let's see.  Probably the best part of the conference for me was meeting so many new people, and seeing so many old friends.  Oboists are my people.  I am a natural introvert, but I made a conscious effort to reach out this time, and was amply rewarded.  I talked to people who I had previously known only online (Hi, Patty!).  I talked to composers, colleagues, friends, and strangers.  I had conversations with the oboe makers and the tool makers and the oboists and the bassoonists. 

I was SURPRISED and DELIGHTED at the number of people I spoke to who had seen this blog.  I didn't know that so many people read it, and I am VERY grateful to the people who told me that they did. 

I loved New York, but that was almost incidental to the fantastic time I had at this conference.  I can just about guarantee that I won't make next year's, in Japan, but I'm already looking forward to 2016.

Everyone who is there, please enjoy the rest of the week for me!  


  1. The adjustable shaper tip is an invention of the oboist in my orchestra! I'm hoping that it takes off at IDRS and her business or another company come out with adjustable bassoon shapers too... for those of us who haven't built up a collection yet, it would save a lot of money!

    I agree with your point about the lefreque... I really don't need more things to remember to take on stage. I haven't tried one myself, but I also haven't noticed a significant difference when other people have played with them...

  2. Yes. I really enjoyed speaking with Gwendolyn, and I love the concept of the shaper. Just because I was not ready to drop money on it doesn't mean it isn't potentially a great device for someone.

    Thanks for commenting!

  3. We appreciate immensely your reporting on the conference. I think-if you haven’t done so already- to send it to the daily Bulletin of the conference. Perhaps you should offer to do it next year in Japan.
    I was intrigued by your description of the various devices, such as the shaper tip and sound bridge. Perhaps I am a purist, or old,(actually both), but I think that any synthetic augmentation of the sound production detracts from the natural ability of the performer. (Reflecting on the violin e.g. I can only think of two additions over the centuries-the mute and the steel strings.)
    Allow me to share with you the pleasure of meeting all those fine people and musicians. I remember your concert of Down the River of Time well. Did you mention to Mr. Ewazen the possibility of his conducting a recording session?
    I missed saying something about your ready scores of the Mendelsohn arrangements. I imagine you are thinking ahead of more transcriptions. The booklet seems elegantly prepared. I would urge people with oboe-playing friends to buy it and give it as a gift.

  4. I am only NOW reading your blog ... I can't believe how time has flown by! It was wonderful to meet AND hear you play, and I hope we connect again, Jennet!

    I was at the entire run of the convention this time, but I must admit after a while my ears needed quiet and my brain needed something other than double reeds stuff. Fortunately my sons and my brother live in New York so I took a good number of breaks.

    I, too, an an introvert. And extreme introvert, actually. It's a challenge to make an effort to go up and say hi to people, but I did my best.


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