Skip to main content

IDRS 2014 Day Zero

I arrived in NYC yesterday after one of those ghastly get-up-at-3:45-to-drive-to-the-airport mornings, and the first thing that happened is...nothing. I successfully navigated transit to arrive at the NYU address given on the conference website, was sent to a different campus building to register, and learned that the accommodation I'd booked was another 6 or 8 blocks beyond that - so my memory of the pre-lunch period of my day is one of being hot and tired and dragging my roller suitcase, oboe, and tote-bag for MILES.

But things got so very much better.  Monday was technically pre-conference, so I was in town exclusively for rehearsals.  I found myself a delicious and healthy lunch, enjoyed people-watching in Washington Square Park, and reported for my rehearsal (not, unfortunately, in my recital venue, and not even in the venue I'd been told a few weeks earlier.)

I've written before about my poor success rate with first rehearsals with new pianists, and I was definitely a little anxious going in.  My program is hard.  I didn't know what the room would be like, and I knew going in that I had EXACTLY an hour to work through everything in my hour long recital, so there wasn't a lot of slush time to stress about reeds.

And I don't know how my performance will go today.  But the rehearsal yesterday was simply delightful.  Jon Klibonoff, my assigned pianist, was absolutely top-notch, and friendly and low-key to boot.  I loved working with him, and am looking forward to today.  (At 11am, in ED Bldg 303!  Hope to see some of you there!)

I also had rehearsal last night for a Large Double Reed Ensemble program.  I usually steer away from anything that smacks of Oboe Band - not interested in chop-busting, punishing arrangements that never sound well in tune - but in this case composer Daniel Baldwin had assembled a collection of world premieres by great people - Eric Ewazen!  Bill Douglas!  - and a group of legitimate professional oboists and bassoonists to play, and it turned out to be enormously fun.  The rehearsal began at 10pm, and started late even at that, and since I had been up since 3:45 I was planning to duck out quite early.  But the pieces kept getting better and better, and the group kept sounding better and better, and I stayed until 11:20 when the rehearsal broke up.  Hiked back to the dorm and fell asleep.

I have high hopes for the fun factor of this performance, which will be Wednesday afternoon at 2.

Final news:  I have my Mendelssohn arrangement complete and available for purchase on my website, HERE.  That project took a long time, but was well worth the effort.  I'm performing off my own bound copy today, and it's SO MUCH EASIER when the notes I see reflect exactly the notes I intend to play.  Less mental strain.  More fun.  Don't know why I didn't do this before. 

I'll try to keep everyone posted about the greatness I see today and tomorrow.  Wish I could stay in NY all week, but I'll fill my two days here like crazy!

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Discouraging Words

I can remember at least two old cranky violinists coming to talk to young me about NOT going into music.  There was a session, for example, during a Rochester Philharmonic Youth Orchestra retreat in which a real RPO professional (who was probably 47 but whom I remember as ancient) told us that, statistically, no one who graduates from music school wins auditions for jobs because there are only like 4 jobs out there in the world and 7000 hotshots coming into the job market every week. 

Quit NOW. 

I may have misremembered the details of this speech, but I remember the emotional jolt.  It was designed to discourage.

Last weekend I was presenting at a Double Reed Festival, and heard some oboists grumbling about another presenter who had evidently given something of the same talk to a roomful of masterclass attendees and participants.  High school students and cheerful adult amateurs.

And look, there's an element of truth to this.  Classical music is not a growing field, and it is leg…

Generosity in Programming

I had the most interesting conversations with a few of my students after my first recital performance last weekend.  One thanked me for exposing her to so many interesting new pieces that she had never heard before.  One admitted unabashedly that his favorites were the familiar ones, the ones he already knew from his previous listening.  And both of these observations rang true to me.

See, I LOVE learning new music.  I really enjoy digging into a piece and breaking through an unfamiliar harmonic language to get to the depths of it.  To discover the composer's intention, and to find the universal emotion or experience at the heart of the work, and then to communicate that meaning back out to an audience.  This challenge is fun for me, and I think I do it well.

I have to be fair, though.  By the time I have put that kind of work into a new piece, it's not new to me anymore.  By the time I get it to the recital stage, it's an old friend.  I find great pleasure in performing i…

Self-Talk

When we started the opera cycle (An American Dream, showing at the Harris Theater tonight and Sunday afternoon), the four woodwinds were sitting stacked in a rehearsal room.  In other words, the flute to my right, the bassoon behind me, the clarinet behind the flute, just like in the orchestra.  And it was OK.  We were fairly close together, the room was resonant, and we were working on orchestral details.  But when we moved into the pit, this seating felt VERY isolating.  The four of us were far apart, on two different levels, the wall was right next to me, and intonation and ensemble were very much more difficult.  Our entrances and releases were not clean together, and because we had to balance to the singers on stage, I found my playing getting more and more tentative.  Don't be too loud, don't come in early before the clarinet, keep everything in the box, try to lead the entrances but stay in the texture... And it felt like everything that was not quite great was my fault…