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Showing posts from October, 2016

Never Trust an Oboe

So this happened.  We were playing a quintet concert in a library the other day, and I didn't quite like the way my oboe was aligned.  Some of the keys on the lower joint affect vents and pads on the upper joint, and the instrument wasn't responding quite right, and I knew exactly the microscopic adjustment I needed to make in the way those two joints had twisted together.  This happens frequently, and I was ready to fix it and move on.

So I twisted the joints. I over-corrected a little. Tried to go back - and the oboe was stuck. Untwistable. I tried wiggling it, twisting the other way, clockwise, counterclockwise - nothing.  And what had been a slightly inconvenient little technical glitch was suddenly an unplayable oboe, and my colleague was just about to finish his speech and introduce the next piece.

But I already know that the oboe is not my friend, and I nearly always carry a spare instrument, and I was able to pull it out, slap the reed on, and be ready to play without…

Upcoming Concert, and Conductor Number ONE

The South Bend Symphony has its opening concert this weekend, and its first Music Director candidate.

This entire year is devoted to our Music Director search.  I've been on the search committee ever since the process started, and it's wildly exciting to finally get to meet these people and to play for them and to make music together.  Our five masterworks concerts each feature a different candidate.

I play with a lot of different ensembles, and I've been through an MD search before.  Even jaded old me is thrilled to see what changes these conductors will bring. One of my favorite aspects of this search is how much our management is trying to involve EVERYONE.  The candidate's week will consist of multiple meetings - with board, staff, musicians, university music departments, community leaders, YOUNG community leaders - and everyone who crosses paths with the candidate will get a survey to fill out.  The audience will vote.  The musicians will vote. The whole town is …