Saturday, December 3, 2011
Last week I returned to Bloomington from New York, where I spent Thanksgiving break getting to know Prokofiev's Violin Duo, seeing old friends, and of course, doing lots of cooking for the holiday. Even though it was nice to spend a few peaceful days at home, the feeling of quiet was spiked by some very exciting news - I have received a Marshall Scholarship! The application process began during the summer, culminating in a final interview at the British Consulate in Chicago last week. I am so happy to be free of the paperwork and off to a new chapter of my musical life! The Marshall Scholarship will fund my Masters degree at the Royal Academy starting next fall, which means I will be moving to LONDON this summer! I am so excited to join and explore the incredibly vibrant music world of this phenomenal city. And for an Austen-reading, Shakespeare-reciting, BBC-watching fan like me, this is truly nothing short of a dream come true.
To say that November was a very busy month is an understatement. On the 1st, I performed my third Artist Diploma recital - only one more to go! - and afterwards I literally ran to Auer Hall to play Matthew Peterson's solo violin piece, Nacken, for one of the composition department recitals, and then made a beeline for the Indianapolis airport; I flew to London, where I auditioned for the Royal Academy and got to spend some time becoming acquainted with this beautiful conservatory. Before leaving for my final Marshall interview in Chicago and ultimately my "home for the holiday" vacation, I played twelve concerts! Four of these were part of the Midwest Composers Symposium, which is a coming together of composers from the universities of Michigan, Iowa, Illinois and Indiana. What an amazing event! It was so exciting to see so many talented composers sharing their music together. Meanwhile that week, I also played three chamber music concerts for some of my friends' doctoral recitals; Beethoven's Septet is now one of my favorite chamber music works. :)
With only a few weeks of the semester left, I look forward to our final round of performances and projects at the Jacobs School. Cicely and I have two more duo recording sessions coming up in a few weeks, so we are steadily making progress with our new music CD project, In Real Time. After this month, there will only be one more session left before just the recording portion of the project is finished! This is truly a marvelous collection of modern duos, and working with the composers themselves like Bill Bolcom, Lera Auerbach, and Paul Moravec continues to be an amazing opportunity.
All for now. There is SNOW in Bloomington!
Thursday, September 1, 2011
Such an astounding amount of activity, concerts, traveling, and adventures have taken place in between last September and the present one, and yet it somehow feels as though no time has passed since I walked into the
I am very glad to say that I am performing with the New Music Ensemble again this year, and in addition to working on fantastic piano quartet chamber music with Cicely, Tim Kantor, and Kati Gleiser, I am also taking a New Music Conducting class; no doubt this last one will prove a challenging project, but what a great opportunity to learn something new - in more ways than one!
Since the semester has only just begun, this serves as more of an introduction to the year, so to end today's entry, I've attached a link to a very moving and exciting article I found from last spring; every time I hear of the success classical music has found in the lives of children, I can't help but feel more and more convinced this is an essential part of being an ambassador of art!
All for now.
Monday, August 1, 2011
After a thrilling first year at the
One of these projects which has served as an important musical focus for my summer has been continued preparation for recording sessions in the fall with Cicely; our exciting new music CD, “Present Tense” is going to be sensational! First of all, we have been doing some groovin'! One of our duos was written by Frank Bennett, a great composer/percussionist/veena player, and orchestrator/arranger for countless big-time
As I may have touched upon in previous posts, one of the joys afforded by playing new music is the chance to work and communicate directly with the creator. Once again, this immensely edifying and enjoyable opportunity arose when we traveled to
All for now; the return to
Monday, April 4, 2011
Tuesday, March 1, 2011
To me, it seems a tremendously daunting task; after all, finding even one or two people to commit to various projects has, from my experience elsewhere, been a complicated enough affair. Well, I was shocked by what I saw when I agreed to participate in one of these ad hocs last month - there we were, a very large, full orchestra all coming together on a Sunday afternoon to give a concert of the Prokofiev Piano Concerto No. 3 and Beethoven's Leonore Overture. Eighty-some people! After playing, working, and practicing all week in endless rehearsals, lessons, coachings, extra projects, and not to mention homework, these students had more music-making to do!
But in addition to the sheer number of people who generously came to play and support their colleagues, there was an enthusiasm and mutual love of music-making that resulted in a concert which, although was not perfect, was entirely unique and held a special joy. This ideal of music being made simply for music's sake.....where one is not playing for remuneration, course credits, recognition, or career advancement, but rather because one must make music. I couldn’t help but hear George Balanchine’s well-known quote in my head, “I don't want people who want to dance; I want people who have to dance.” Here we were, creators of music who have to play!
Ad hocs are going on all the time here. It’s something which, at the time of my own experience, I found to be deeply touching and inspiring; once again, it made me feel so proud to be a part of JSoM! Cicely calls it a “musicians’ paradise.” It is!
All for now.
Tuesday, January 4, 2011
Happy New Year: Resolutions For A Struggling Arts World and the Musicians Who Need to Survive in It!
Happy New Year!
Somehow, the New Year never fails to inspire many of us to resolve to “change” the way we've been doing particular things - both big and small. I can’t say I’ve ever really been one of those people who declares "New Year resolutions," but this time I suddenly found that there were indeed aspects of my life I felt compelled to, well, change; and the more I considered this, the more apparent it became why many people honestly consider the start of the year an opportunity to, in a way, "begin fresh."
New approaches and ideas that can lead to positive changes reminded me of links I recently received from a friend; these really ought to be read and heard by anyone who calls himself a music lover, especially those who recognize the importance of the change needed to ensure the future of classical music and jobs for musicians. The links lead to the video and text version of a very interesting discussion given by arts leader and speaker, Diane Ragsdale. You may have heard of her; she's become rather well-known for her compelling addresses concerning the economic impact that society's changes have had upon culture, and she has presented these speeches both in the
The fact of the matter is that, yes, we are failing to produce a generation of listeners, attendees, and fans of art. Perhaps this can simply be attributed to the fact that its role as an underpinning of early education is no longer in existence. But meanwhile, beyond the financial implications of a waning population of fans and supporters (like musicians losing their jobs and competing against each other in a rapidly diminishing market), we are facing something even more difficult; something Ms. Ragsdale calls “the culture change.”
At this point, the challenge doesn’t appear to lie primarily in a lack of resources; Americans spend their money in all kinds of ways. Rather, the core issue is that people seem untouched, indeed entirely immune, to the discovery of meaning, significance, profundity, and aesthetic pleasure of art in all forms. In other words, it no longer provides that go-to for feeding one’s soul. "The arts can't declare mission accomplished just because they get people in the door. It is not sufficient to create artistic experiences and sell or give them away without regard for the capacity of people to receive them and find meaning in them." And I truly believe it is our job (the musicians, the arts leaders, etc.) to make our own discoveries that lead to, yes, changes, so that we may once again recapture the public’s appreciation and desire for the profoundly special work that we create.
Every paragraph of this discussion contains something of value and interest; I hope that you may read it (I do suggest reading the text version) and perhaps take away something relevant to your life in context with the arts.
Here's to 2011!
All for now.
P.S. Here is a photo of us with composer Seymour Barab last week in NYC - we performed his delightful duo at our concert for the New York Musician’s Club (aka “The Bohemians”) in NYC!