Tuesday, January 29, 2008

always more

Well, I thought I was finally done with my run of concerts and constant rehearsals, so that I might actually have some time to practice for summer festival auditions, and even make a tape or two. But alas, I am in rotation at school again, a last-minute change. I will just have to do my best to squeeze in enough practice time and I have no idea about the tape(s). I just know I really need to do SOMETHING musical this summer, and not in LA. Why are they ALL in late January / early February? I mean, I know the lists are posted way early and that I could technically mail the tapes in before Jan 1, but honestly, who has the time during the holidays? First you're overloaded with Christmas gigs, juries, and finals, then school is closed and 1000 miles away so there's no good place to record anway, then you're doing last-minute shopping, and cooking, and traveling, and people want to see you and you might not get to see them again in a long time, so WHO HAS TIME TO MAKE SUMMER FESTIVAL TAPES???????

Oh well. I had my first viola lesson today! It was great fun. I'm struggling with alto clef, because I still have to translate it in my brain from treble clef rather than just read it straight, but I'm hoping to make flash cards to really learn it well and associate it with a place/feel/sound on the viola. It's an awkward instrument for me. And being a small person, the viola I got from school is of course on the large side (I didn't get to choose it). So it's a real struggle to play with my 4th finger in tune. And to extend my bow arm completely. But I'll work on it. It will distract me from reeds. Speaking of reeds, better get to work. Or maybe I'll take out my viola instead . . .

Friday, January 25, 2008

rainy roman carnival

I am enjoying a rainy morning at home, knowing that I don't have to be anywhere til 7 tonight. Last night I played 2nd oboe/English horn on Roman Carnival and Brahms 2nd piano concerto, so I feel entitled relax a little. Well, in addition, it was with Andre Watts and it was USC's "Presidential" series, and it was a live radio broadcast, so you might understand why I was a little tense. Andre Watts was amazing. A very powerful pianist, and the Brahms seemed to really suit him. Liz, our principal cellist, played the cello solo gorgeously, as well, and Brooke nailed the opening horn solo. And Kim played the oboe solos so beautifully! I was proud of her. The English horn solo went pretty well, I was happy with it for the most part. But since it was the first time I've played it before, I was very concerned with playing it RIGHT, and matching up with the strings even though I couldn't hear them very precisely. I wish it had flowed better, and that the last F# had a better attack. But all in all it was fine. And my parents were happy because they listened to a webstream of KUSC and heard the concert, and they announced my name, which of course my dad loved.

After the concert we were able to attend the president's reception, and they had beautiful desserts and delicious hot chocolate. So it made up for Wednesday night's rehearsal when LA was FREAKING OUT about the rain so it took me a HOUR AND A HALF to get to school when it normally takes me 20 minutes, and in rush hour traffic 45. So even though I left my house SUPER early I was still 10 minutes late to the rehearsal and it was POURING RAIN (wtf!!! this is LA!!!) and even though I had a raincoat and umbrella I was SOAKING WET from the knees down. Sitting through a three-hour rehearsal with wet feet isn't wonderful. Anyway, I was really embarrassed to be late to rehearsal, because I'm not that person.

Oh, and did I mention I am now taking viola? I have an extra credit to use, so that's what I'm doing with it. First lesson will be on Tuesday. I already have my instrument from school, and it's not bad. It even came with a shoulder rest. But no rosin, so I need to get some. I'm excited :)

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

el violín

I think I'm going to register in CA so I can vote in the primary. Need to do it ASAP. Plus this way I can actually physically vote! Absentee ballots are boring and kind of anticlimactical.

I forgot to mention that I saw an amazing film with Shirley and Mary: a Mexican movie called The Violin. It was very moving, with beautiful music and fantastic cinematography. The people in it were beautiful, too. They looked like they came right out of ancient Mayan times. The story reminded me of an Isabel Allende novel, and also of a certain John Sayles movie, Men With Guns. Anyway, I highly recommend El Violín (as well as Men With Guns and Isabel Allende!).

One more thing, speaking of movies and music. How come movie credits include every last person involved, down to the caterers and sometimes even including extras, when musicians who play on the soundtrack are never listed? Seems unfair. And I'm always curious. The newspaper for the AFM Local 47 here in LA usually has a spread on the the soundtrack for some big movie, and it has pictures of the scoring session and lists all the musicians, which I enjoy. But I wish the movies just listed them. Or IMDb.

Monday, January 14, 2008

voting conundrum

Should I register to vote in California? That way I can vote in the primaries here. Or for that matter vote in the presidential election here instead of in Texas, where I feel that my vote for anyone other than a Republican is somewhat of a waste. I have to decide soon. I've never voted in a primary before. Can one vote in a primary for a particular political party if one is registered as an independent? I'm pretty sure you don't have to be a legal resident of a state (I still have a Texas driver's license) to vote in it, you just have to live there. Or I could vote absentee in Texas. That's what I did last election. Urgh I don't know.

Sunday, January 13, 2008


So, I am back in LA, and Friday my hard drive crashed :( :( :( Fortunately I was able to take it to the Mac store and have a brand new hard drive installed the next day. Unfortunately, I lost all the data that was on it. Fortunately, I have most of it backed up, since I backed up my hard drive about six months ago. Unfortunately, I do not have anything from the past six months backed up. Fortunately, everything was for free. Now I am just refilling my iTunes library, and it's taking a little bit. Plus I lost all my bookmarks for Firefox, since I had to start over with my computer.

Meanwhile January is looking rather intense for me. I have three concerts for three different organizations in the last two weeks of the month. I'm excited about the music, but will I have REEDS??? Most concerning since it is a big mix of oboe and English horn. I finally got a gouger, though, and that should help, at least for the oboe reeds. It's from Innoledy, and to my surprise it arrived in a container with a pattern on it that much resembles Burberry plaid . . . I was most certainly expecting plain silver, not a designer gouger! It's a really cool machine, and quite easy to use. First rehearsal yesterday for (English horn on) Vaughn Williams "London" Symphony didn't go as well as I would have liked. It would be nice if I could actually play in tune. I probably shouldn't have used such an old reed, but it was the most comfortable, so I did. Oh well, hopefully I'll have it ironed out by next rehearsal.

The other stress, of course, is summer music festival tapes and auditions. I hate making tapes.

Well, my iTunes library has for the most part been reconstituted, but alas none of my playlists were recreated, so it's all just one massive lump of songs. And some of the music I added for recent auditions is gone. My wonderful CSO audition playlist is gone :( Oh well. Better get back to adding documents.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

to clap or not to clap

Another article discussing appropriate audience behavior at classical music concerts. It brings up some good points.

Saturday, January 5, 2008

Mercury Baroque

On Friday afternoon, I had the privilege of meeting my old boss, Lydia, for lunch. I interned for her in public relations in the summer of 2001 at the Houston Symphony. Lydia now does PR independently, and one of her clients is Mercury Baroque, Houston's first (I think) period instrument baroque orchestra. Luckily enough that day some members of the group were promoting a concert this weekend on the local public radio station, KUHF. Jonathan Godfrey and Oleg Sulyga played violin, Barret Sills played cello, and Bill Averill played harpsichord for Dean Dalton's program, The Front Row. Mercury Baroque's music director, Antoine Plante, also answered questions about the music. The station has a really nice space for live radio performances, and it was fun to watch and listen to some Italian trio sonatas, one based on La Folia by Vivaldi and another by Tartini. The music will be performed as part of a program in the MFAH's exhibit on Pompeo Batoni. Thus the progam consists of music that the patrons of this 18th-century Italian artist probably listened to at that time. While it was great fun to observe a live radio broadcast, it would be even cooler to actually go to the performance tomorrow (Sunday) at 2 pm at the museum and hear the music among the paintings. It's gorgeous music played on authentic instruments by excellent musicians in a beautiful location, what more could you ask for? Oh yeah, and they're fun people, too.

Thursday, January 3, 2008

nightmare on michigan ave

I had THE weirdest dream last night. I dreamt that my old teacher made poisoned cookies with his mom and handed them out to CSO musicians, and in so doing wiped out the rest of the oboe section and half the violas. Why he had it in for the violas I don't know. For some reason, the oboe section was large, like a string section, but it was more of an abstract idea, and I didn't know any of them. I did check to see if a few specific musicians were OK, and the ones I knew were fine. But people had actually died as a result of the cookies! I was very upset about this, and kept talking with various musicians trying to convince them he was innocent, but in the end they all convinced me that alas, it was true. I was so upset at this point that I woke up. In retrospect, it's hilarious, but I was really horrified in my dream!! When I was little I had this idea that if you told someone your bad dream it made it less likely to come true, and I still get relief from relating bad dreams, so I thought I'd post it here. Besides, it is rather amusing in its own ridiculous way. I mean, poisoned COOKIES??

Tuesday, January 1, 2008

Happy New Year!

May 2008 bring you great joy.