Saturday, March 31, 2007

various thoughts and comments

I have too many random thoughts too make a cogent post, but I'll just put them out there anyway. Friday night I went out with Kim, Shirley, and Julianne to the movies, and Denny's (surely there are more places open after 11 in Santa Monica, we just don't know where they are). We went to this really cool theater at the Montana Street shopping area. They were showing a double bill of Ingmar Bergman's The Seventh Seal and Wild Strawberries, both of which I have seen with Andy and loved. Julianne and Kim had rehearsal so we missed the Seventh Seal, but we did see Wild Strawberries! It was great to see it on the big screen. I love Gunnar & Ingrid. They were also in Winter Light, which I enjoyed, but not as much as Wild Strawberries or Through a Glass Darkly, which is my favorite so far. Still have to see The Silence. And as for current releases, I really want to see The Wind that Shakes the Barley, Pan's Labyrinth, and The Lives of Others. Any takers?

I read an interesting article in the New York Times; it does seem that women now have to prove they can have babies. Peggy Orenstein writes that "motherhood has been emphatically re-embraced, recast not only as an essential feminine right but also as a feminist one — to be claimed whether you are single or married, gay or straight, 25 or 59. Having children when we want them has become a symbol of our autonomy, more central to our concept of self than ever." Very true, I think. And the article provides incentive to eat more ice cream, which I did tonight with two Jonathans from debut :) It was delicious.

Meanwhile, I have to get ready for La Mer with Debut, a recital on May 1 (at the lovely Unitarian Universalist Community Church of Santa Monica), and another audition. I have no real summer plans, since the best thing I got was alternate for Sarasota. I might do an English horn seminar in July, but I need to find a job for the summer. Any ideas? It would be great if I could buy a gouger in fall. And I need to work on reeds so much, but I also need cane, eek! The hardest thing about playing English horn and oboe both a lot is having to make reeds for them. And I need GOOD reeds for both. My recital consists of the Bach little g minor sonata, the Honegger Concerto da Camera for flute and English horn with Kelly, Tomasi Evocations, and the Nielsen quintet. Wish me luck. And a good pianist/harpsichordist.

Well, I'm getting tired, but next entry I'd like to put in my two cents about diversity in orchestras, a topic that has surfaced in several music blogs lately and about which I have something to say.

PS Does anyone know a teacher of Vietnamese zither who lives near Santa Monica? The young woman who was helping me at the church asked me to inquire at SC for her, but I don't think we have anyone. I think it's way cool that she plays, though!

Monday, March 19, 2007

all black for all!

I read an intriguing interview (through the Seattle Weekly online via The Rest is Noise) of Joshua Roman, 23-year-old principal cellist of the Seattle Symphony. I think Delia knows him somehow, she's mentioned him before. Anyway, he mentions that he'd like to do away with some of the conventions of classical music, because, as I've always maintained, once people actually listen to the music itself, they'll like it; it's just the trappings and the reputation that keep people away. It's not the music itself, which people simply aren't familiar with, and it's not, as some people would argue, the price--look how much people spend on tickets (and food and beer etc) at ball games. I agree with Alex Ross that men should wear all black, that tuxes are pretentious (and not practical to play in--I don't know how men put up with bow ties and stiff jackets). Plus, it would create more gender equality, even if only on a very superficial level.

Joshua Roman sounds very interesting, and frighteningly talented. He makes some good points. It is difficult not to get bogged down in excerpts when "JOB JOB JOB" keeps hammering your brain. It's also easy for him to say not to worry about getting a job--he has one! It's essential to develop all aspects of your musicianship, but more importantly, your humanity. We forget that sometimes. And for musicians our age, learning to play our music in different environments is also extrememly important, since drawing new audiences is crucial to our survival.

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

back in the city of angels

Well, I'm back from Buffalo. It was kind of an ordeal, and I'm really glad to be back. Actually, I'm definitely glad to be back in sunny LA, with the beach just under three miles down the road. I've been missing Chicago, but the patches of dirty snow and nasty mudpuddles reminded me why Chicago (and Buffalo) are not the nicest locations on the earth in March. I would have liked to have played better, it's true, but I learned a lot, and this is just the beginning of my auditioning. I'm sure I'll improve. It's weird bumping into people there, I'm not sure I'll get used to that. But I'll try. And I really need to figure out how to adjust reeds to different climates. urgh.

The trip wasn't so bad, but with the coast-to-coast time changes and the early demise of daylight savings, my body clock was so confused it didn't know what hit it, and it still doesn't. I accidentally stole a bottle of water from a cafe in the Buffalo airport this morning--I put it in my bag, without thinking about it, and when I went to pay for my smoothie I forgot about the water. But the smoothie was really gross (I think it was just strawberry syrup and ice or something), and I threw it out. So basically I paid $4 for that bottle of water.

I bought two books in the airport. The first I bought in Baltimore on the way there, Kurt Vonnegut's latest, A Man Without a Country. It was a quick read, but true Vonnegut. But I finished it too quickly and had nothing to read on the flight from Buffalo to Las Vegas (they have noisy slot machines in the airport there. I've been through Vegas twice now, and neither brief taste left me with a desire for more). So I bought a book in Vegas, Jhumpa Lahiri's The Namesake. I'd read her first collection of short stories and enjoyed them, so I thought this would be a safe bet. But of course it's only about an hour from Vegas to LA, so I haven't gotten very far. I'll let you know. Maybe I'll see the movie.

Speaking of movies, I have one to watch, so that's what I will do now. Goodnight.

PS Thank you Shirley for the magazine and the chocolate--it helped a lot!!

Sunday, March 4, 2007

must destress

I've been stressing too much, so this morning is my morning to chill out so that I can face the next few weeks. Buffalo is freaking me out, since I spent so much money on plane tickets I feel like I need to prove something now. I shouldn't look at it that way, I know. It's a good way for me to start doing auditions and to see what they're like and figure out the best way I can deal with them. It's an opportunity. But still, it's stressful. I wonder if that mysterious little rash on my arm is stress-related. Otherwise I can't figure out where it's from.

The exam for my Vienna class looks to be impossible, since the class is so unstructured I have no clear idea of what anything is or what exactly will be on it. The Bach cantata should be beautiful if I can just keep calm and enjoy it, and if my reeds pull through. Sometimes I hate it when people compliment me, because then I have something to live up to. I should probably look at the Debut music, too.

OK, if I can just get through til next Tuesday, I can relax for a few days before my next adventure, planning a recital. With no clear idea of where it will be (thanks USC) and only a vague idea of when it will be. Not even sure what will be on it yet. But it needs to happen by the end of April. And still no idea of summer plans. In undergrad I had a plan, I knew I would be there in one place for five years, and then I would do grad school. Now it seems as if no portion of my life is stable for longer than a few months. It's frightening.