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Showing posts from June, 2016

Report from IDRS 2016

I'm in Columbus, Georgia at the International Double Reed Society conference this week, after taking a year off and NOT flying to Tokyo for last year's event.  It's amazing to be back.

An IDRS conference is not a relaxing affair.  Every hour is double and triple and quadruple booked. It's impossible to see everything I want to see, and I find myself leafing through my program frantically the MINUTE I sit down at a recital, wondering what I'm going to next and even whether I dare to sit all the way to the end of this one. Inevitably I have to choose whether to see a friend perform or hear a lecture I am interested in or soak in some learning at a masterclass.  And somehow I have to carve out enough time to buy ALL OF THE THREAD COLORS at the exhibit hall.  It's very stressful.

The great thing about double reed players is how amazingly supportive we are of each other.  Flutists can be mean at their convention, or so I hear.  But the oboe and bassoon are just to…

Bow Envy

I've been watching the bows of my string colleagues this week, and I've realized I'm jealous.  I have bow envy.

I have always loved wind instruments.  There is something so beautifully, terribly intimate about having to generate sound and music with your own personal air, the air you use to breathe and to live.  It's natural to make big phrases that match the shape of the breath, and it's natural to drive those phrases forward to their conclusions, and to the next breath.

When I am following and matching my string colleagues in their elegant, light baroque style, I can imitate the lift that their bows have.  The weight and speed of their bows, and the way they don't force phrases to be longer than the bow itself - these are characteristics of the style we are working in and I can mimic and match this with no problem.  It makes the long long arias and choruses feel easier if I can lift with the strings in all of the tiny rests that occur all the time.  I'm n…

Bach Plays in Peoria

I'm down in Peoria again, performing with the Peoria Bach Festival.  This is always a great gig for me, and this year is no exception.

This year, I'm especially aware of the incredible skill level of my colleagues in the orchestra. These people are known to me - we've been playing together for years down here.  I'm a pretty good player myself and I've just had a marvelous spring - three terrific MFM concerts, four recitals, and the Rouse Concerto concert.  And a studio recital.  And two auditions.  I've been working hard and having some success and feeling strong and great.

But on Tuesday, when I first walked in, I had to immediately rehearse three chamber works and two big concerto grosso stand-up solos, and those two rehearsals just about killed me, and I felt like a bull in a china shop. In my defense, I'd driven four hours to get down here and that takes a lot out of me, but I think I always feel a little clumsy when I first arrive.

I enjoy playing Ba…