This week I have the pleasure of working with the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra, under the baton of music director Krzysztof Urbański. It's a huge program, featuring Dejan Lazic as pianist of Listz' Totentanz. We open the program with Grieg's Peer Gynt Suite, and finish with Richard Strauss' monumental Alpine Symphony. It is really wonderful playing with such a talented and GOOD group. The orchestra sounds amazing. There are no weak sections, and everyone takes their job seriously and is clearly well prepared. We are very much making music, instead of simply putting the different pieces of the musical puzzle together. It is a wonderful and musically rewarding experience, though I must admit, the driving back and forth to and from Indianapolis is tiring! Muncie is so very far away.
In an effort to make up for some of the apparently odd acoustics of the hall in which it performs, the orchestra is set up in a fairly unusual way. One of these oddities is that the violas are where the cellos usually are, which puts me on the edge of the stage! I've never sat here, and it is strange for me, not only because of not hearing the cellos or basses well (though I hear the timpani very well!), but also because I feel so exposed! The audience will be just a few feet away from me. It is also taking extra concentration to adjust to seeing the maestro's beat pattern from the side, and from the back of the orchestra. I'm used to seeing it almost directly in front of my eyes and right above my nose.
But it is really wonderful, and everyone is so friendly and kind. I'm very much looking forward to the rest of this week. How lucky I am to make beautiful music with such a talented ensemble!
Happy practicing, indeed!