Thursday, December 24, 2009

in the year seven-hundred and fifty-two from the foundation of the city of rome

My favorite part of the Christmas Midnight Mass (which obviously I'm not at right now): the Solemn Proclamation of the Birth of Christ.

In the twenty-fourth day of the month of December;
In the year five-thousand one-hundred and ninety-nine from the creation of the world, when in the beginning God created the heavens and the earth;
In the year two-thousand nine-hundred and fifty-seven from the flood;
In the year two-thousand and fifty-one from the birth of Abraham;
In the year one-thousand five-hundred and ten from the going forth of the people of Israel out of Egypt under Moses;
In the year one-thousand and thirty-two from the anointing of David as king;
In the sixty-fifth week according to the prophecy of Daniel;
In the one-hundred and ninety-fourth Olympiad;
In the year seven-hundred and fifty-two from the foundation of the city of Rome;
In the forty-second year of the reign of the Emperor Octavian Augustus;
In the sixth age of the world, while the whole earth was at peace —
eternal God and the Son of the eternal Father, willing to consecrate the world by His gracious coming, having been conceived of the Holy Ghost, and the nine months of His conception being now accomplished, (all kneel) was born in Bethlehem of Judah of the Virgin Mary, made man. The birthday of our Lord Jesus Christ, according to the flesh.

Monday, December 7, 2009


This cartoon made me crack up this morning.

Monday, November 30, 2009

All-State Rant

First of all, I would like to acknowledge that I attended both middle and high school in Texas, a state with obsessively good band programs. However, I am pretty sure that Texas is not the only state that has All-State Band, Orchestra, and Choir; that has AUDITIONS for them; and that these auditions are free for students. I could be wrong that they are free, but I don't remember having to pay for them. Therefore I find it RIDICULOUS that a state as large as California doesn't hold auditions, but rather has your band director make a recording to send in of you, and you have to pay a $45 (!) application fee. I know CA is having a budget crisis right now, but this procedure appears to be standard, regardless of the budget. Kids should be given an audition experience, and for many students, making a CD and paying a $45 fee are really difficult. I am completely dismayed at this system. And so much more appreciative of Texas's labyrinthine system of region, area, and district auditions to place in an All-State ensemble, plus the region band and orchestra opportunities before that. California, once you fix your budget, you need to get on this problem. Oh, and if anyone knows of some good, less expensive opportunities for middle school band kids to audition for and place in an ensemble, please let me know!

Thursday, November 26, 2009


Happy Thanksgiving!!!! I am cooking sweet potato muffins and green beans, and then heading over to hang with friends. Eat well today!!

Soundtrack to cooking: Respighi, Ancient Airs & Dances, Boston Symphony/Ozawa; O Brother Where Art Thou?; Beethoven & Triebensee Trios.

Thanks for good music, good food, and kind friends!

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

General Montcalm

I would just like to point out that the fabulous production of Janacek's "From the House of the Dead" that so many people have been raving about was directed by Patrice Chereau, everyone's favorite French general in The Last of the Mohicans. Just because I think that's awesome.

Monday, November 23, 2009

it's diaphanous, not diaphamous

I know what "gossamer" and "diaphanous" mean without having to look them up. Is that really so weird?

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

I'm still here! Been busy--recital on Saturday. Went well. I am so proud of my friends who joined me for the Prokofiev Quintet--for three of them it was the first time playing it, and we did it in two days!

I thought I would share this cartoon. I agree. Flying doesn't scare me so much as the airport itself: security rules and lines, making sure your bag is under 50 lbs, separating your liquids, taking off your shoes, taking the laptop out of its bag, making sure you took your screwdriver and all your reedmaking tools out of your oboe bag and checked them, having to pay lots of $$$ for crappy airport food, waiting, having flights delayed, being delayed in lines, etc etc etc are WAY scarier than the actual flying part. I guess I am already getting anxious about holiday travel.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

driving music

It's raining in Los Angeles, which makes the driving HORRIBLE but at the same time is much appreciated by residents of a desert city. I'm listening to Ludovico Einaudi when I drive--he helps me get through it. My roommate listens to Crooked Still, and I am so glad she has introduced me to their music (via True Blood)--it's great!

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

i'm not in holland anymore, am i?

I just liked this Doonesbury. Because I am from New England and I like tulips and I talk to my plants, too.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

dvorak slavonic dance no 7

Also fun.

Allegre non troppo - Antonio Vivaldi - Concerto in D major in HD

This one is very cute and oboe-centric. Good combo.

Jean Sibelius Valse Triste from Kuolema for orchestra OP 44

I am so glad someone has put these clips from one of my favorite movies of all time, Allegro non Troppo, up on YouTube. This one is my favorite and always makes me cry, without fail. I guess I'm sappy like that. I think I will post more if I can find them.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Beverly Sills on The Muppet Show Part 3 "Pigoletto"

because i'm in an opera mood

(thanks to oboeinsight for posting the video that lead to this one!)

Friday, September 11, 2009

Stephen Colbert and Paul Dinello

My friend posted this on facebook, and I had to share it.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Sunday, September 6, 2009

west coast adventures

I have been having West Coast adventures in the past month. I took an audition where I finally thought I played my best, but still didn't advance. Therefore I felt awful. But on the other hand, I now have a better idea of what I have to do to prepare to play my best.

I took a trip up the California coast with my Mom. It was a long trip, lots of driving, but also lots of fun. I forgot my camera so I don't have many pictures, just some that mom took with her film camera and scanned. There are no humans in the picture I've posted to give scale, but redwood trees are truly awe-inspiring. So was the Golden Gate Bridge, which I really enjoyed driving over (once in each direction!). I thought of Patty when I drove through Silicon Valley, and as a Mac user, I was pretty excited to drive through Cupertino :)

We went to two mission along the way: Santa Barbara and San Luis Obispo, and I learned that California was essentially started by a Franciscan monk named Junipero Serra, who founded over 20 missions along the California coast, each a fews days apart on foot, from San Diego to San Rafael, and including such familiar towns as San Juan Capistrano, San Francisco, Santa Cruz, and San Jose. I found this totally fascinating. I also liked that the name for the Native Americans in the Los Angeles area was "Gabrielenos" (Tongva originally), after Mission San Gabriel, the mission in the Los Angeles area, I suppose. I am also guessing that the name of Los Angeles has something to with San Gabriel, who was, after all, not only an angel, but an archangel (and one of the only figures to appear in the Christian, Jewish, and Muslim religions, I would also like to add!). Anyway, both Santa Barbara and San Luis Obispo were beautiful, and I found San Luis Obispo to be particularly charming. I am sure there were lots of horrible things done to the Native Americans, but the missions seemed like a pretty nice way of living to me.

We drove all the way up to the Avenue of the Giants in Humboldt Redwoods State Park, some 200 miles north of San Francisco (which is about 400 miles north of LA, for reference!). It was some of the scariest driving I have ever done in my life, with very narrow roads that were SUPER twisty and some of them were on cliffs over the ocean. Good thing it doesn't really snow there! Though there was plenty of fog. Avenue of the Giants, however, was amazing and beautiful and if you ever have a chance to go there, DO IT!!! Words cannot express the awe I felt in the presence of these huge, ancient trees, some of whom have been alive for over 400 years. It also takes 400 years for a redwood to decompose fully once it has fallen, and the trees (both living and dead) are home to literally thousands of life forms. And to top it all, they have these adorable little pine cones that are no bigger than a marble. Wow.

Meanwhile, back in Los Angeles, I went to one of my favorite locations, the beach at Point Dume, with some friends today. It's so beautiful, it is really one of LA's saving graces. We had a lot of fun looking in the tide pools for hermit crabs and starfish and such, and finding little shells (I was pretty excited about an adorable little sand dollar I found--sand penny, really, since it was much closer to penny-sized. But the highlight was that we got to see a sick baby seal (or sea lion, which I think actually it was, since I think I saw it had little ears) get rescued by the Marine Mammal Rescue people. He was soooooo cute and it was so sad to see him looking forlorn and listless, just letting the tide carry him along. I hope that he makes a full recovery! I wish I could find out what happened to him.

Now it will be back to teaching, which is a relief (especially since I'm pretty broke), and hopefully back to gigging as well. Not to mention auditions and planning for how on earth I am going to live my life.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

drug advert ban?

Saw an interesting debate on drug advertising, which is something that has always bothered me. You should not ever have to ASK your doctor about a particular drug! If you go to your doctor and report symptoms of something, they should be able to figure out what it is and prescribe you something for it. I would HOPE that they know better than you which drug to prescribe, or be able to refer you to another doctor that does. So what is the point of advertising for drugs??? That money could better be spent elsewhere--like making the drugs themselves a little bit more affordable!!! And don't get me started on drug companies taking doctors out to dinner to sell them stuff . . . and the assorted pens, mousepads, and other gizmos they come up with to sell their products.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

uncertain times

Two NYTimes articles of interest today: one on the NEA and one on laid-off ballet dancers.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Banff Oboe Choir: 2 Canadian Folk Songs, arranged by Katie Mordarski

"Land of the Silver Birch" and "My Paddle's Keen and Bright"

back in socal

Back from Banff--what a gorgeous place. I even saw a grizzly bear crossing a river, but it was from the car as we were driving so I didn't get a picture. I'll post a few of my favorites. Nick Daniel and Steve Taylor were both amazing, and I had a great time. I miss it! I also miss that The Banff Centre provides you with tasty meals and you get your room cleaned--now I am back to grocery shopping and cooking and making my own bed and I'm not sure how much I like it! Anywho, here are a few more photos.

Bow Glacier's water flowing into Bow Lake

waterfall coming from Bow Glacier

another pretty waterfall


mountain and Bow Lake

Bow Lake and Bow Glacier

another pretty river

wall of waterfalls

Columbian Ice Fields Glacier

one of the many warnings to stay off the glacier--which was roped off anyway

View from the top of Sulphur Mountain--1,187mi to LA!!

Bow Valley from Sulphur Mountain

The Banff Center and Banff Springs Hotel from Sulphur Mountain

adorable baby mountain goat!

stream and tree roots


view from Tunnel Mountain

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Banff--Hoodoo Hike

The settings on my camera weren't right, so the picture quality is not as good as I would like, but you get the idea. I love it here.

Saturday, June 6, 2009



Umm, so I haven't blogged in almost a month. Oops. I'm still here, I've just been busy. I took an audition last month, and I think things are progressing, though I still didn't advance. They let me keep playing more excerpts after I made mistakes, which means there must have been something about my playing they liked. They even let me stop and get some water out of my C key, and they heard me play all the excerpts and then asked for the ones I messed up on again, and I played them better. So at least they gave me a good listen. It's so frustrating to go to an audition, play three excerpts (often with no obvious errors) and then hear "Thank you." Also, now I know what it's like to get water in my key during an audition, so next time it happens, hopefully it won't fluster me as much. At any rate, I had fun eating good food with my friend afterwards and catching up during our wait in the airport.

I also moved, not far, just about 5 miles east to a new apartment. I will miss being as close to the ocean and Santa Monica, but I am in a cute area with a roommate who is super nice and in an improved apartment. But it was still a huge pain in the ass, and I was sick for most of the weekend, which didn't improve things (and meant that I was pretty much exhausted the whole time).

I also had my final concert of the year for my little band. I was pretty stressed out about it, because I've had so many kids miss rehearsal this semester for sports and field trips and such, we were not as prepared as we were for the first concert. But I added a final dress rehearsal right before the concert, and that was enough to fix everything (and to give a chance for our added players to get comfortable with the music), and we had pizza in between the rehearsal and the concert. It went pretty well! I was happy with it, and proud of my kids for pulling it off. But also glad for it to be done. I had a good time chilling with the music teachers afterwards :)

Now I am trying to settle into my new apartment, take care of all of the things I let slip in the last few weeks, and prepare for Banff.

Saturday, May 9, 2009

violin audition

My friend Jessica posted a note about auditioning recently on facebook and on, and I thought it was very insightful. Here is a link to it.

Trumpet Tips

A trumpet player friend of mine posted this on facebook. I can relate to the bassoonist! Very amusing.

Monday, May 4, 2009

Camerata Pacifica — Loeffler Rhapsody, "L'√Čtang"

That concert I was raving about? They put part of it up on YouTube! (well technically it was a different performance, but same program. still awesome.)

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Loeffler & The Soloist

I meant to mention this earlier, but on Thursday I went to a Camerata Pacifica concert at Colburn featuring Nicholas Daniel. They played several lovely works, but the highlight of the evening for me and my friend Izumi, who plays piano and has accompanied both my masters recitals, was the Loeffler Trio. Izumi's piano teacher, Kevin Fitz-Gerald, played it with Richard O'Neill (formerly principal viola of AYS--we accompanied his Walton Concerto last year) on viola and of course Mr. Daniel. I loved being coached with Izumi on the Poulenc Sonata by Kevin, who always has a twinkle in his eye and can be brutally honest but says it so nicely you don't even notice--an excellent quality in a teacher. Anyway, they are three marvelous musicians, and they played soo well together, and Mr. Daniel actually MADE THE OBOE SOUND LIKE A BAGPIPE, for REAL!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I want to try that!!! Their performance was thrilling--and that's not an easy feat for the Loeffler, which can, I must admit, be occasionally a tad dull if not played with enough sparkle. After hearing them play, Izumi and I want to play it again! (She played it with me on my last recital). OK, anyway, it was just pretty awesome and I am so excited to study with him at Banff this summer :)

Same evening, at midnight, I saw The Soloist with several of my USC friends who were in it as "The Juilliard Orchestra." They had some good screen time! The movie was OK. There were some disappointing aspects (umm, WHAT were you thinking with the pigeons, Joe Wright?!). I was REALLY annoyed by the character of Graham Claydon, the "principal cellist" of the LA Phil who to me was the stereotype of a classical musician: white, male, geeky/snooty, and he's also portrayed as a religious nut. In a film about how classical music is NOT just for white, male, geeky/snooty types, couldn't they have eliminated this tired stereotype? Just saying. At least Esa-Pekka got his cameo. All in all, it was pretty much just Hollywood.

Monday, April 20, 2009


I'm still here, just not been in a blogging mood lately. I'm trying to get myself revved up for more auditions, and of course still performing--today was Mahler 1 with Debut. Low b-flat on English horn, mwahahahahaha. In two weeks will be Shostakovich 10 with AYS. My life feels kind of strange right now, like I'm driving a car somewhere on a long trip but I don't know where that destination is or how to get there or how long it will take.

Friday, April 3, 2009


I thought this was interesting, especially the discussion it sparked.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Monday, March 30, 2009


There have been a few interesting links I've come across today. Here they are:
NYTimes article on music for healing
Free downloads from the Concertgebouw, thanks to Alex Ross
Orchestra strife sparks a discussion, via a friend's facebook post

Friday, March 27, 2009

random thougts

I had an RA in college who was from Fargo, ND. He insisted that people from Fargo do not sound the way they do in the movie. I heard an NPR interview of a resident of Fargo talking about sandbagging there to prevent flooding. He sounded exactly like the people in the movie. He even ended the interview with "You betcha!" So, Jeff, I'm sorry, but I have to disagree.

I love driving down the PCH at sunset. I love driving the PCH at night and listening to Ludovico Einaudi. I love driving in LA at night when there is no traffic. It's beautiful in its own way.

Thursday, March 26, 2009


I got a new oboe today!!!!

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

spring plantings

my seedlings! strawberry, tomato, clover, love-in-the-mist (what an awesome name for a flower)

Saturday, March 21, 2009


I seem to have picked a really excellent time to begin a music career, according to this article. Not that it would a better time for any other career, I suppose. Except maybe a physician. By the way, congrats to all those who matched yesterday!!

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Natasha Richardson

I was very saddened to hear of the passing of Natasha Richardson today. I do not know her, of course, but still, it made me sad. Maybe it's because she has two young sons, or because she's become familiar to me through her movies. Maybe it's because her family is also famous, so their grief is more personal: when someone dies, I feel bad for their family, but often I don't know anything about their family. But for Natasha Richardson, well, I've seen her sister in movies, and her husband is one of my favorite actors, and I've seen her mother and her aunt and uncle all in movies. I've actually seen Vanessa & Corin Redgrave live at Houston's Alley Theater, in productions of Julius Caesar and Anthony & Cleopatra (she was a killer Cleopatra), when I was only in 7th grade, but I still remember it clearly (she was also a killer Portia: I cringed when she stabbed herself in the leg). And my mom looks a little like Vanessa. I think they made such an impression that from then on I always noticed them and remembered things about them. Anyway, for whatever reason, even though I do not know these people AT ALL, I am sad for them.
I really liked this post by Holly Mulcahy, found through Inside the Arts.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Riverdancing Violinist

In honor of St. Patrick's day, I will post this, which I found after viewing the cute video on Inside the Classics.

Sunday, March 15, 2009


Today I tried to go to the LA Phil to hear Martha Agerich play the Ravel Piano Concerto in G, and Shostakovich 5. There were no student rush tickets and the cheapest available seats were $93. But you could see on the monitors in the lobby that showed the stage and the area behind it that there were plenty of empty seats, at least in the behind-the-stage area. This makes me ANGRY. There were five or so of us student types hoping for tickets, and if they had charged us $15 or $20 they could have made $75-$100 and filled seats. But no, it was $93 or bust. I do not know anything about economics, but to me, this does not make sense. At all. Maybe if I had bought tickets weeks ago I could have gotten some for $40 or so, but seriously, this IS the symphony being elitist, if you ask me. And I always say that it isn't, because you can usually get reasonable seats and ball games will probably cost a lot more. But if you have seats available and you refuse to sell them at an affordable price to people who cannot afford premium seats, well, that's elitist in my book. So FIE, LA Phil, FIE. I really wanted to see that concert, but I really CANNOT afford to pay $93. Sorry.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Music School Enrollment Spikes as Economy Tanks

Music School Enrollment Spikes as Economy Tanks

Posted using ShareThis


I read this article in the NYTimes, and I thought it was cool. It has long bothered me that one of the primary reasons for obesity in this country (in my opinion) is that it is simply so much more expensive to eat healthily.

heroes don't need to hold low eflats for 16 beats before an intense solo, anyway.

I heard this story on NPR today, and it piqued my curiosity. I don't think anything's wrong with Peter & the Wolf, but this sounds like fun, too.

On a different note, I enjoyed Ein Heldenleben with AYS. But I wish that the low Eflat hadn't stopped in the wrong spot so I had to come back in again audibly. I was really nervous, mainly because I took time off last week and wasn't feeling completely back to shape, but it generally went well besides that. It's a lot of fun to play.

Ironically, I have become hooked on a different hero theme: the TV show, Heroes. Season 1. Several friends warned me via facebook that it all goes downhill from there. Oh well, I will enjoy it while it lasts.

Friday, March 6, 2009

i needed a break, so i took one!

Last month I had a bit of a frustrating audition experience. I felt very well prepared for an English horn audition, although when I arrived and found that they were asking both oboe and English horn in the first round, that threw me for a loop a bit. But I said OK, I can do this. I think I played a pretty solid audition. It wasn't spectacular, but it was pretty accurate, and I made no major mistakes. My Brahms Violin Concerto had a bit of an airy tone to start, since I had just come from playing William Tell (who makes people do that on an audition???? That would never EVER happen in real life. And I double on oboe and EH a lot). But other than that, it was a decent audition. And yet I did not advance, despite the fact that people who made many more mistakes than I, still advanced. They always say that your first round has to be so accurate, when here it was not the case. People say these auditions are a crapshoot, and I know this, but when it actually happens that you cannot understand the actions of the committee, it still feels pretty awful. I also had another tough time with summer festival auditions (why do these ALWAYS creep up on me?) and have already gotten some rejections. So I have been taking some time off the oboe, and my friend Kim visited me from Chicago and we had a little spring break celebration. We did some fun LA stuff: the beach, Noshi sushi (yum), Montana Ave and 3rd Streed Promenade in Santa Monica, the Coffee Bean, Upright Citizen's Brigade comedy, Point Dume in Malibu, biking along the beach in Santa Monica, LACMA, Hotel Cafe where we heard The Jane Doe's, and dinner at El Cholo (again, yum). Before I go back to work this weekend with (gulp) Ein Heldenleben, here are some pictures from Point Dume.

cool rock

another cool rock

waves on the beach

view of the point from the beach

waves crashing below the point

moon in the sky

soaring hawk

clouds over the Pacifc

the beach from the point

yellow flowers on the point, overlooking the Pacific

Sunday, February 22, 2009

pizza-eating people

An article I was just reading had this quotation:
“Pizza-eating people have representation,” Mr. Singh said. “Burger-eating people have representation. Bagel-eating people have representation. But roti has no representation.”
I just thought it was funny.

Monday, February 16, 2009

here's looking at you, kid

For Valentine's, I went to Casablanca with a group of friends, and loved seeing it in a theater! Also, when we were on our way into the theater, we saw Madeleine Stowe with her family on their way out. It was an odd sensation for me, because when she went out she kind of looked at me and smiled, and I had this feeling like, "Do I know this person?" It took me a second to realize that no, I do not know her, but I have seen The Last of the Mohicans so many times that her face has become as familiar to me as that of someone I actually do know. Anyway, I am so glad I got to see Casablanca!! Next time I see it, I think we should do a drinking game--drinks for the following:
•anytime they play or say "As Time Goes By"
•whenever Bogey says "Here's looking at you, kid."
•when someone in the movie has a drink (wait, then maybe we would all pass out by the end of the movie . . . nevermind)
•whenever Ingrid gets a soft-focus close-up with slightly teary eyes
•for "Major Strasser has been shot. Round up the usual suspects!" and "Louis, I think this is the beginning of a beautiful friendship." to finish things off.
•I'm open to further suggestions!

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

supermetronome returns, and MBAs

So a little while a go I posted on the idea of a supermetronome. I didn't see until just the other day, but someone very kindly posted a most helpful reply. If you are at all interested, I suggest you check out Brendon's comment. I just made myself one in GarageBand and practiced with it this evening! It was quite beneficial, I think.

Also, I went biking to the beach on Sunday with my friend Kate from Northwestern (who randomly lives 3 blocks away from me now!). Kate is currently working on her MBA at UCLA, and during the course of our conversation, we discovered that despite what one might think, there are actually some strong similarities between getting an MBA and an MM. In both programs, your summer plans are important. For most serious music students, every winter includes a slew of auditions and tapes for summer festivals. For MBA candidates, the winter includes a slew of interviews for summer internships, which can affect what kind of job offers you might get when you graduate. While summer festival attendance does not affect a musicians job opportunities, there certainly is pressure to get into the prestigious festivals in order to study with good teachers there, play chamber music with other talented musicians, or participate in high-quality orchestras with good conductors.

Also, while getting my MM, I took music history classes that had regular reading but no homework assignments, so that technically you didn't have to read the assignments until the midterm or final, which would inevitably result in me (and most of my friends) CRAMMING like crazy for these tests, because of course we hadn't done the reading until we HAD to. Apparently, there are MBA classes just like this, and students who do just the same!

We also get a little burned out for similar reasons. By the time a person does a masters, in anything, they've already gotten an undergraduate degree, which means they are probably a little tired of school. They are also probably getting a masters with a particular goal in mind (ie, a job). Therefore, when the degree itself actually seems to impede one's ability to get a job, internship, audition, etc. a person can get frustrated. Just as classwork takes away from time musicians would rather spend practicing for auditions, even though it probably helps us learn important information about our field of study, classwork takes away time from MBA students who would rather be preparing for interviews, even though those classes are also pertinent to their field.

Anyway, it was a very interesting conversation. I spend so much of my time with musicians, it's really nice to have a good chat with someone who is not immersed in the music world! Plus, a bike ride on the beach is so wonderful, it helps me survive and destress here in LA.

Friday, February 6, 2009

cover letters

I am considering taking an audition for which they ask for a cover letter in addition to a resume in order to apply. While I have heard of orchestras asking for this before, I've never taken an audition that has asked for a cover letter, so I was asking friends' advice on what to say. My friend Tim's suggestion:

"I would like to play in your orchestra because I need money. I am the greatest English hornist on the planet. You would be stupid not to choose me for this position. Also, I'm dead sexy."

This made me laugh, so I thought I'd share. Somehow I don't think that my cover letter will include any part of that suggestion.

Sunday, February 1, 2009

California living

Hmm, there are a number of things I feel I should have blogged about but didn't, so I'll try to make up for it a little right now. Let's see, last weekend I saw Alfred Hitchcock's Notorious for the first time in many years, and it was even better than I remembered it. It was also AWESOME to see it in a theater, not only for the film but to experience it with other people. Cary Grant, Ingrid Bergman, and Claude Rains (for some reason, I just love his name) were all great. CG & IB just played off each other so well. Anyway, it was great, and if you've never seen it, I recommend.

I also went to the San Francisco Symphony Symphony on Tuesday evening, and that was really fun. They sounded really good. I liked the Berg piece they played quite a bit. The oboes sounded good (although I could have used a little more, actually!) and it was fun to hear a new orchestra for me! It was also kind of a weird experience because people insisted on clapping violently between all movements of every piece on the program. This was annoying during the Berg, but whatever, I subscribe to the belief that if people like a piece they should be able to clap if they feel like it and not be made to feel like ill-informed morons. Anticipating this issue, MTT made a very polite announcement before the start of the Brahms, asking people to please refrain from clapping until the very end so we could better enjoy the piece as a whole. I thought his message was very polite and very clear and not at all condescending. And yet a small number of people INSISTED on clapping LOUDLY between each movement of the Brahms, and of course by now it was accompanied by angry (and equally annoying) SSSSSSSSHHHHHH!!!s. I thought maybe that it was kids who were clapping, and that since this is LA, their parents didn't bother to reprimand or explain to them why not to clap. But I don't know, it was very strange and pretty annoying.

Anyway, I enjoyed the concert very much, and I ALSO enjoyed meeting up with an old NU friend, then going out with a bunch of trombone players after the concert and watching them drink LARGE quantities of beer (in liter mugs, no less). I myself partook a bit, but I am a complete novice in comparison (well, to be fair, also quite a bit smaller).

Finally, I was rear-ended on Friday. It was a rare rainy day in LA, and it was under an overpass, where the rain made things slick but it never washed the oil and grit away since it was covered. It was a minor accident, no one was hurt, it wasn't my fault so the minor (I hope--it's driveable, anyway) damage to my car should be taken care of soon. Although the girl who hit me's car didn't look so hot. Anyway, it was still kind of scary. I've actually never EVER been in a car accident before at all, not sure how I managed to make it this far, but I am grateful that after 2.5 years of frequent freeway driving in LA, this is all that's gone wrong so far. (knock on wood). It kind of freaked me out that there was a fatal, head-on collision on the 10 soon after (how that happened I don't know, seems kind of hard to go the wrong way, but . . . ) which closed down the freeway for hours and cause a traffic nightmare on the entire West Side. Not to mention that there have been several small earthquakes here in the past few weeks and I have felt them all. Guess I am just living the ultimate California life.

Oh, and tonight I played an AYS concert, just one piece, Barber's Knoxville Summer of 1915, which is beautiful, but nerve-wracking to play. There is only one woodwind a part, and our principal was generous enough to give it to me since it doubles on English horn. So everything is exposed, needs to be in tune, and there is doubling. Very stressful. But it went well, and I enjoyed playing it. Diana Newman sounded great, again. Her voice kind of reminds me of Heidi Grant Murphy, very pure and light. Maybe that's because I've also heard HGM sing both Mahler 4 and KS1915, which are the two pieces I've heard Diana sing. I wish I could have heard the rest of the concert, but I had to go and practice/reed for some upcoming auditions and performances. I hope everyone played well and had fun!

Monday, January 26, 2009

Star Trek feminist rant

So lately I have become addicted to Star Trek. I have a sort of love-hate relationship with it. I find Captain Kirk SO IRRITATING, Mr. Alpha Male. The story lines are sometimes so ridiculously cheesy, and the special effects, well, mostly paper mache and chicken-wire! My biggest problem, however, is that it's outrageously sexist. I know it is merely reflective of the 60s, but it makes me SO GLAD that I did not grow up then, and that there were women who fought the good fight so I don't have to wander around a starship in a miniskirt, serving the men. They have their token woman officer (Uhura, who is a pretty decent female character, but the ONLY one), and the rest of the women portrayed are wimpy and get overly emotional so easily and they ALL manage to fall for Kirk! And they MUST have a different super-hot girl each episode. Fine. But if you are going to have a super-hot girl, you also have to have a different super-hot guy in every episode (NOT Kirk), to balance it out.

In one episode, an attractive young woman comes by with something for Kirk to sign (as one does every episode . . . because attractive women are only capable of secretarial work . . . grrr), and just after she leaves, Kirk discusses her with whoever else is on the bridge at the moment, basically saying, "Wow, she's attractive. Well, I'm sure she'll meet a nice man sometime soon and drop out of the fleet. They all do." !!!!! It pissed me off so much!!

Oh, and then there was the (really bad) episode where they find the ancient spirit of Jack the Ripper and all such killers, who feeds off fear. This ancient spirit attacks women because they get scared more easily, giving off more fear!!!! OK, I will readily admit, women are often more cautious than men, and probably I am more likely to scream in fright (or otherwise express emotion) than the average guy. But that does not mean I actually FEEL MORE FEAR than a man. I think, actually, that women are just as brave, and sometimes braver, than men, thank you very much.

Oh, and it was on that same episode where they all go to this "pleasure planet" and take Scotty to a strip joint, essentially, so help him relax after some incident on the ship. I guess it used to be pretty common for businessmen to go to strip joints, until women started joining the workforce in larger numbers and made this awkward. So I guess it's just another sign of the times. But I thought it was pretty ridiculous that Kirk kept telling McCoy about this one place where the women are just so . . . *wink* Not to mention that nearly every episode includes a shot of Kirk leering at some poor girl. In those horrible uniforms. So obviously dreamed up by geeky boys. The last episode I watched also made a little too frequent mention of getting the necessary thrust to penetrate the sensitive part of a giant space amoeba. Now maybe that double entendre was not intentional, but it kept coming up and made me giggle.

Alright, feminist rant over and out. I am glad that it is not 1968 anymore, and I will continue to enjoy Star Trek while at the same time ridiculing their outrageously dated outlook on the future.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

President Obama

Today, I got up at 6:45 am to leave by 7:15 to get to my friend Jenny's place in downtown LA by 8 am to watch the inauguration. This is a big deal for me because I am NOT a morning person. Living on the West Coast is great when it comes to seeing election results at a decent hour, or not having to stay up til 1 am to see the end of the Oscars, but for morning events on the East Coast, well, not so great. But I got there, and enjoyed oatmeal and coffee in front of the TV (thanks Jenny!) and watched this historical moment, and it was worth it. I loved hearing John William's new piece, which was very pretty and appropriate for the event. They sure got wonderful musicians to play, too. I was just very glad that they included classical music. Obama's speech was excellent, as usual. It was interesting to me that it could be both very somber and very uplifting at the same time. I am so happy that we have such a capable mind in the Presidency, and such a beautiful first family in the White House. President Obama (doesn't that sound great??) is right, we have a lot to do, but hopefully with some hard work we can turn things around!

Monday, January 12, 2009

run, forrest, run!

I just got home from AYS's Gala Concert, honoring Alan Silvestri this year. We played music from Back to the Future, What Lies Beneath, Beowulf, Who Framed Roger Rabbit, Mouse Hunt, Cast Away, The Polar Express, and Forrest Gump. Since it was a fundraiser, we all played for free, and there was a dinner afterwards (so I guess not totally free--we did get a good meal out of it!) with an auction for donated items, including wine from the Silvestri Vineyard. It was great fun. I know sometimes musicians complain about doing movie music, but I enjoy it, and I feel like it's a great way to introduce people to classical music. Maybe some musicians dislike it because it's often the same movie music done over and over again (John Williams, Lord of the Rings--both of which, in my young and unjaded state, I still LOVE to play!). I think there's loads of good movie music out there, and if arranged well (I believe ours was put together with the help of David Newman, AYS alumnus, parent, and composer himself), it can make for a really good concert. Free wine afterwards doesn't hurt, either :)

Thursday, January 1, 2009