Back to the Grind!

I can hardly believe I'm well into the second week of the Fall semester! The summer has sadly slipped away in a blur of mountains, ice cold lakes, campgrounds, a fuzzy dog, an amazing James, and many many wonderful memories. It was an unique summer of travel, and though part of me is very sad to be back in the real world (filled with emails and cell phone signal!), I'm also incredibly excited about this academic year.

I have five wonderful new students, each eager to learn and progress. So far, the year has been very very good. Plus I have a recital in less than two weeks! It is on Monday, September 12th at 7:30 PM in Sursa Hall (free and open to the public!). Honestly, it was probably a bit ill-scheduled, as the beginning of the school year is always so very busy, but the upcoming recital forced me to start practicing the minute I got home from the summer, and I have to say, it's a good way to start a new academic year. I feel like I'm in a good place, playing-wise, and being able to make amazing music with my talented colleagues so early in the semester is an incredible break from the otherwise hectic run-around that a new semester invariably brings.

I'm very pleased to be premiering two works on my recital, one of which is by a Ball State undergraduate student, Daniel Sitler. Last year, when I premiered the Sonata Salvatore LoCascio wrote for me, Daniel talked to me after the premiere and said how cool it was that I was willing to play works by student composers. I told him I would happily play something he wrote, as long as I liked it. He got to work almost immediately, and over the last several months we've had a couple of fantastic meetings to talk about his composition. And in less than two weeks I will have the immense satisfaction of premiering something that not only I like, but that I very much respect. Plus I convinced him today to change one note towards the end of a lyrical passage that I think adds a haunting continuity to the work. Thanks for that C-natural, Daniel!

That, my friends, is the true beauty of working with living composers. They're willing to listen to your insights... Bach never lets me change any of his notes!! As I told Daniel this afternoon after running his piece for him, I haven't been able to get a particular melody he wrote out of my mind. That's how you know it's very very good. Whomever said to avoid young compositions clearly never worked with the students at Ball State. :)

Happy practicing!