Poznań, Part 2

Today was my first full day in Poznań, and it was awesome! Spencer, Nicholas, and I (see yesterday's post if you don't know who I'm writing about) started with an adventure to find coffee and breakfast. After a few no-gos (what coffee shop doesn't open till 8 AM on a weekday?!) on this drizzly morning, we finally found a lovely spot for coffee. So we had coffee, but not breakfast, and then as we wandered on, eventually found a lovely place where we each had more coffee AND breakfast. We then took an Uber to the Academy, where I went to rehearse with the pianist with whom I'll play the Clarke Shorter Pieces for Viola and Piano on tomorrow's concert, and afterwards I watched British violist Louise Lansdown teach in master class for a bit. There were a number of lectures that I missed in the morning, but it was okay because they were all in Polish! While I am adept at Russian, the languages are not nearly close enough for me to be able to catch what is being discussed in Polish. I can understand a word or phrase here and there, but definitely not communicate. But I did get to enjoy Spencer Martin's lecture on Lilian Fuchs (which was in English). That was a wonderful way to end the morning, listening to an amazing woman play amazing viola!

After that, we had lunch with Marcin at the Academy cafeteria (and the food was really quite decent for a cafeteria!), and then Spencer taught 5 students in master class. Marcin and I observed, and I was impressed with everything Spencer had to share with the students. It puts me in a slightly funny situation, because I'll hear a lot of the same students tomorrow afternoon, and had I been teaching them today, I would have talked about just about all of the same things Spencer did today! So, we'll see what that leaves for to talk about tomorrow. ;)

After that, Marcin showed us (and let us play) his fantastic new viola, and then we headed over to Willa wśród Róż Salon Nowowiejskiego (say that 5 times in a row quickly!), where we had the Viola Potpourri recital, as it could have been called. Six of the faculty at the Viola Forum performed. I played the Hindemith 1937 Solo Sonata and closed the concert with Spencer Martin as we performed Scott Slapin's Nocture in Memory of Richard Lane. Before my Hindemith, Spencer played an enchanting rendition of Lillian Fuchs' Sonata Pastorale. It was an all solo-viola recital (that also included a world premiere, works by Michael Kimber, and the Bridge Lament for Two Violas), and it was awesome.

What's funny is, I was really nervous about performing on this recital. But once I got there and saw the gorgeous space and realized that I wasn't playing in front of a bunch of competitors, but in front of a bunch of colleagues, it became a lot less scary, and overall I'm happy with how I performed. The Hindemith is not an easy piece, and I did not play perfectly, but I think given the extreme about of STUFF that has been going on in my life (and thus the terribly stunted practice time I've experienced lately), it went quite well. The audience responded well, and I find myself coming back to a phrase Spencer shared yesterday, "trust in your preparation." Since I prepared as best I could, I played as best as could be expected under the circumstances.

After the concert, Spencer, Nicholas, and I had the most memorable dinner I've ever experienced. Intrigued? Well, come back tomorrow to learn all about it. It's nearly midnight and I have to be up early again tomorrow for more viola-ing! What a wonderful life I have!

Happy practicing!