Skip to main content

Upcoming Concert - snowbound edition

I am snowed in.  I came up this week to Muskegon to play with the West Michigan Symphony for the first time, and after last night’s rehearsal the blowing blizzard was just too much for me. 

I am used to commuting in the Midwest.  I’ve been through my share of white-knuckled drives, and I do not fear them.  I can slow down and take my time, and I can creep patiently from mile marker to mile marker with my hazard lights on, and I have been in a few ditches and waited for help to arrive. I don’t fear this kind of drive, but nor do I welcome it.  On Monday, after my two hour commute to work turned into three and a half, and after the snow continued to fall and blow in throughout our rehearsal, and after I confirmed that Steve was safely at home with Zoe, I chose to spend the night in the local Holiday Inn.

I didn’t have a change of clothes with me, or pajamas. I didn’t have workout gear for the lovely indoor fitness center.  Had I planned to stay over I might have packed more food to keep from having to eat out, or cane to wind up more reeds - but in fact I had only the gear I had, and I made the most of my time by practicing all morning, finishing the in-progress reeds in my case, and eating lunch in the most delicious restaurant, Mia and Grace Bistro

What a nice orchestra this West Michigan Symphony is!  It’s two hours from home - on a good day - and there are a surprisingly large number of people here I didn’t know. Surprising because all of the Chicagoland orchestras draw from the same pool of players, so I see the same folks all the time and mistakenly perceive that I know ALL THE MUSICIANS that there are.  But this gig is another couple of hours away from Chicago, and employs a whole different group of people.  And they sound just great.  The conductor, Scott Speck, has a really pleasant way of working with the chorus and the orchestra, and truly knows his stuff.  It’s nice to be educated and satisfying to be asked to play well. 

We are playing Carmina Burana - it’s a wonderful piece, and I have performed it many times and NEVER had as much fun as I’m having now.  The tempos are quick and the group is responsive and the playing is stylish.  What a treat!  The concert is Friday night - if you are in the area at all then DO check this one out. Details HERE

Comments

Post a Comment

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!

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…