Thursday, October 25, 2012


Hi everyone!

Here is a long overdue post of a video interview produced during the spring of 2012; video credit and many thanks go out to Steve Torres!


Saturday, October 13, 2012

Vlog No. 2!

Click on the link below to watch my second video blog!  :)


Saturday, September 15, 2012

Professional Portfolio Class: A New System!

Orientation at the Royal Academy of Music is over, and yet the daily routine itself hasn't quite started yet; I'm in a limbo period, but the material we covered during that week is enough to keep me busy thinking for a month!  In my opinion, the highlight of the welcome period was the first of four "Professional Portfolio Classes," which introduce the possible structures of the Masters program at RAM.  I say "possible" because, believe it or not, the students actually have control over how their academic and musical life at the Academy will take shape.  I walked out of the classroom feeling incredibly inspired and could literally feel my mental motors running at a million miles an hour as I thought over the words of our speaker, the head of the RAM graduate programs, cellist Neil Heyde.

First of all, RAM follows a tutor system, whereby each student is assigned to an academic tutor, who works closely with the student in formulating a program that is, in a sense, customized to the needs of that student.  Furthermore, while flexible in its content, the program can take on certain "pathways," which is the term they use to describe the focus of the coursework and projects.  Concert Workshop, Analysis and Aesthetics, Contemporary Music Workshop, and Issues in the Economics and Business of Music are just a handful of the incredibly interesting and relevant topics to the 21st century musician.  To paraphrase Mr. Heyde, the purpose of this program is to identify, challenge, and expand each and every student's unique development goals, both on a personal and professional level.  In this way, the school serves the students by preparing them for their unique career paths, engaging in projects and assignments that are relevant to their individual goals.

WHAT a change from the academic structures I have known!  While some might feel concern at the thought of so much "freedom" in the system, I think it is brilliant in its ability to switch gears between the abstract and the specific - two fundamentally essential concepts if one is to achieve a holistic understanding of what it means to be a  21st century artist.  We live in a time when thinking outside the box is necessary, where all things conventional have been done before (perfectly, I might add), and a program like this really seizes the opportunity to expand our understanding of what is possible - as Mr. Heyde puts it, "you have to be willing to go over the cliff a few times before you really know where the edge is."

All I can say is, thank goodness I don't have to choose just one pathway!

All for now,

Sunday, September 9, 2012


Here it is, my very first video blog!  I apologize for the audio/video synch problem - if you think you know the reason and can help, send me a message PLEASE!  :)

Saturday, September 1, 2012

Arrival in London!


After all this time - I started toiling on my Marshall application in July 2011 - I am finally here in this phenomenal city and getting ready to start school!  It was an incredible summer filled with many trips, including concerts in Montreal and New York, a lake vacation in Kentucky, three weeks at the amazing Banff Centre in Alberta with the Larchmere String Quartet, and then five sweaty concerts with the LSQ at the beginning of August (we performed in 90+ degrees!).  And even though I found myself getting a bit sentimental about leaving the states for 12 months, now that I am here I am looking to the future and seeing quite an endless list of possibilities for the next year of my life!

My Masters program doesn't begin until the 10th, so luckily I have some time to get my bearings first.  I live in a stunning place called Goodenough College (see picture above of the quad), where everyone is an international graduate student - automatically giving us all something in common.  The Queen herself came to visit for its 80th anniversary last year, so I now get to enjoy many of the improvements that were made on campus to prepare for her giant, gorgeous trees in the garden.

The neighborhoods each have a street named after the neighborhood with the word "High" preceding it so that you can always find the places of high activity (restaurants, shopping, etc.)  The tall, blinking lights on the sidewalk indicate that the right of way belongs to pedestrians, who I imagine are still in the right even if they are hit by the speeding red buses.  There is no such thing as Walmart, but the UK does have Argo's, where you fill out a card with numbers corresponding to the items you choose in a catalog the size of 15 Complete Shakespeare books put together, and then someone goes to the back and brings everything back for you - no aisle searching, just Walmart in a book.  But most of all, I love that history follows me everywhere, even in the most unassuming and quietest of streets.  Here at Mecklenburgh Square, one house was the home of Virginia Woolf, another was where D.H. Lawrence wrote one of his novels, and the Charles Dickens Museum is one block away.

All for now - updates to continue!


Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Larchmere String Quartet!

Greetings from the road again!

I am always thrilled to travel, and this time I am en route to Cleveland with my new ensemble, the Larchmere String Quartet! My wonderful IU friends and colleagues, violinist Tim Kantor and violist Rose Wollman, along with myself and cellist Schuyler Slack from the Cleveland Institute, have joined forces as a string quartet and will perform our first audition tomorrow; with the help of Bartok, Beethoven, and Haydn, we will hopefully find ourselves spending a few amazing weeks this summer at the Banff Festival!

Getting to know the string quartet literature has been such an exciting addition to my musical life. Thanks to my new toy, an ipod(!), I can listen to the Razumovsky quartets back-to-back with my favorite Radiohead songs while walking to school or ballroom practice. And not only am I expanding my personal library of great music, I am also deepening my understanding and appreciation for the master composers in a way I never have before. On a more technical level, working as a four-member string unit has heightened my ear's sensitivity to issues like intonation, balance, and color, which must be used expressively in as sophisticated a way individually as collectively. What a worthwhile challenge!

Meanwhile, I am watching the days fly by as my final semester at IU gets into full swing. My 21st birthday arrives in just one month, and the ongoing preparations for new music concerts and recitals make the weeks seem short. Luckily, I still have time to practice several days a week with the university ballroom dance team, and I also look forward to working at the elementary school again soon. Indeed, I am really going to cherish these last few months being at my amazing school and with my incredible friends and colleagues!

All for now.