The past few weeks: Bartók, UNT, Kimber LoveFest, CMS/NACWPI and onward!

Greetings from Santa Fe! I am here to participate in the College Music Society (CMS) and National Association of College Wind and Percussion Instructors (NACWPI) National Conferences. Tomorrow I present with the Hibiki Trio, and on Saturday with Violet, my new duo with Dr. Elizabeth Crawford (clarinet). It is gorgeous here in Santa Fe, and I enjoyed my afternoon wandering around downtown, having a killer Mexican lunch, and overall indulging in being unable to work at the moment (if only my whole studio had flown to Santa Fe with me!).

It's been a whirlwind for the past few weeks. I can hardly believe that only two weeks have passed since I last wrote, because so very much has happened since then! The Bartók performance was eleven days ago, and yet it already feels like a far distant memory. Most of it went really well, and the audience and orchestra members were so very appreciative. I really felt like a rock star from all of the praise and accolades. The amazing rose bouquets were a nice added bonus that definitely sealed my rock start status for the evening!

The day before the Bartók performance, I taught a master class at the University of North Texas. It was fun to be back in my old stomping grounds, haunting the halls and getting to spend a little time with former mentors, including Susan Dubois and Kris Chesky. Here's an imagine of me working with a UNT student, courtesy of the amazing Daphne Gerling.

The master class took place in the same hall in which I performed all of my doctoral recitals, and gave my dissertation lecture! What a wonderful role reversal, to come back in a teaching capacity. :) It was also super impressive to see how the viola studio has grown and matured since I graduated. I was very impressed by the level of playing of the students I heard and had the pleasure of coaching!

Once I got back to Muncie, I hit the ground running (or did I never stop running?!). On Tuesday and Wednesday last week, we were lucky enough to host the amazing violist and prolific composer of viola music, Michael Kimber, as well as Marcin Murawski, the foremost expert on performing Kimber's works. Marcin is a Polish violist who has made SIX CDs filled with Kimber's music!

On Tuesday evening, our guests performed a recital. Before it began, Michael and Marcin worked with the BSUVC (Viola Choir) on the three Kimber works we'd prepared for the occasion. After working with the composer and the expert, the group sounded even more fantastic than they usually do. And I got to perform with them too! The three pedagogues (Kimber, Murawski, and I) performed a trio, Reflection, which, for me, was probably the highlight of the residency. I really love Kimber's writing-- there's such a range, from silly to profound, and Reflection was very much on the serious/profound side. Being able to make such beautiful and soulful music with two consummate performers who know the work so intricately was really amazing. Marcin performed the first half of the concert solo, and it was stunning. He plays with such a variety of colors and sounds-- it was fascinating to watch how easily he traveled across the various sounding points. After a brief intermission, Michael joined Marcin on stage for a number of duets followed by our trio, and then we finished off the concert with the ensemble pieces. It was quite the Kimber LoveFest! All Kimber all night, and yet the music never got repetitive or boring. He is such a prolific and varied composer. I can't wait to start learning some of his solo works. I was truly inspired!

The following day, after a nice lunch at The Cup (my favorite Muncie coffee shop), Marcin taught a master class to my studio, then gave a lecture. I always enjoy seeing how other pedagogues work with my students, especially someone like Marcin, who is from a completely different school than mine. I thought my students were very brave to try his suggestions as whole-hardheartedly as they did (which were very different than my usual Coordination/Tuttle-inspired comments), and it opened a wonderful dialogue among my students about different techniques.

And with that, the Kimber LoveFest came to a close. I had a semblance of normalcy over the weekend, and now I find myself in Santa Fe. Phew! But once I get home on Saturday night, it'll be mostly normal things for the rest of the semester, plus I don't have any more serious work-related travel planned until 2017. Yay! Everything I've been doing has been really exciting, but I am tired, and my poor little Tula-Dog misses me something awful. I miss her a lot too.

Happy practicing!