First Week Finished!

With a flash, the first week of classes is done. I can hardly believe it. I had fun playing pops with the Anderson Symphony on Sunday, and the Muncie Symphony on Wednesday (I especially geeked out on the Stark Trek through the Ages medley), and managed to make it through most of the week at school too. Unfortunately, I got really sick after the MSO concert Wednesday night, and had to stay home yesterday. I woke up at nearly noon (after canceling my day in the morning), and had a lengthly nap in the afternoon, and then went to bed again at 9 pm. I woke up this morning at 9 feeling a lot better, though not 100%. (I am always amazed at the body's ability to sleep WAY longer than it usually does when sick!) I managed to make it through my teaching load today, and even attended the annual faculty get together at the School of Music director's house. It was nice, but now I am home again, ready to go to bed. New year, new virus, it seems. At least it only debilitated for 24 hours, but MAN that was not a fun 24 hours!!

Next week I'm looking forward to my recital on Thursday at 7:30 at Grace Episcopal Church in Muncie. With Sophia Kim I'll perform the Five Old French Dances by Marin Marais and a few of the Shorter Pieces for Viola and Piano by Rebecca Clarke. I'll also perform Bach's G major Suite for Solo Cello (on viola, of course), as well as the Prélude, Récitatif et Variations by Maurice Duruflé with Mihoko Watanabe (flute) and Jooyoung Kim (piano). It's a good program, and I'm looking forward to playing for hopefully a somewhat different audience than who come to recitals on Ball State's campus. I hope to see some of you there! The concert is free and open to the public.

Happy practicing!


Harp Recital

This afternoon I'm looking forward to performing with several of my colleagues in Elizabeth Richter's harp recital (3 PM in Sursa Hall, free and open to the public!). The program begins with a piece by William Grant Still for string quartet, piano, and harp. It's a very pleasant work! In addition to that, I am performing on Ravel's Introduction and Allegro for string quartet, flute, clarinet, and harp. It's an amazingly beautiful piece with a luscious cello solo towards the beginning that seems was written for Dr. Peter Opie. He plays it so beautifully! I don't know what else is on the program, but knowing how well Elizabeth plays, I know it will be a very lovely afternoon.

Happy practicing! 

Very Good Viola Day

Today has been a very good viola day! I had my first rehearsal with the BSSO for next week's Bartok Concerto performance (which can be streamed live on Thursday 16 October at 7:30 EST here). There were a few rough patches, but we started and ended together, so that's good! The woodwinds sounded especially good on all of their exposed solos, so that was a great relief. It'll be easier to make music feeling confident in the ensemble behind me. I'm not ready to share a video clip (I might share over the weekend, but need to do some more listening first), but here's a photo from this afternoon.

A few hours after rehearsal, my doctoral student Nataliya Nizhalova gave a STELLAR recital! I am so very proud of her. I actually had tears in my eyes as she drew the last note of her Hindemith sonata. Nataliya is a violinist who has been studying viola for one year now, and she truly sounds like a violist. It's been such a pleasure working with her, and to see all of her hard work come to fruition in tonight's recital.

And once I got home I had a slew of packages waiting for me-- potential gowns for next week's show! Fun! While I'm not sure any of them will do, it was fun dressing up and getting James' input on the various dresses. I'll see if I find something more interesting over the weekend, otherwise I might have to recycle a dress I already own-- oh horror! :)

Happy practicing!

April Recital Videos

Yesterday I finally figured out how the new iMovie works, and I edited all of my recital videos from my April recital!  I'll be posting these videos soon, and will work on the Viola Day videos this next week. I hadn't thought much about my recital since it happened, but watching the videos yesterday, I am pretty darn happy with how it went. There were a few things here and there, but then again, it was live performance. Nothing ever goes as perfectly as when you're alone in a practice room, eh?

For your viewing pleasure is Bene, by Salvatore "Sonny" LoCascio. I was first introduced to this work a few months before my recital. Sonny submitted it to be performed at the National Society of Composers conference that was hosted at Ball State. It was chosen, and I agreed to perform it. I enjoyed the work so much I programmed it on my recital, which was a few weeks after the conference. 

What's very cool is that Sonny is now a Doctoral composing student at Ball State, AND he plays in the Viola Choir! Isn't that a fun full-circle story? He's currently working on a viola sonata, which I hope to perform one day too.

Until then, more Bartok! Happy practicing!

Alice and Josh and ISO

I am generally not one to get all girly when in the presence of greatness. But this morning, as I drove to Indianapolis, I thought about how wonderful it was going to be to play Dvorak's 9th (New World) Symphony with the ISO, not to mention join this fantastic ensemble in the Sibelius Violin Concerto (one of my favorite violin pieces!) with soloist Joshua Bell... I must admit, I was giddy. Rehearsal was really fun, and I enjoyed every moment under the baton of maestro Krzysztof Urbanski

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Shortly after I got home, though, I got an email from the Performing Arts Medicine Association that the society's co-founder, Alice Brandfonbrener, had recently passed away, which brought a ripe solemnity to the otherwise upbeat character of my day.

So here I am, doing what I love to do (playing viola with world-class performers and ensembles), in large part because of the efforts of Dr. Alice Brandfonbrener and the association she started. Without a network of performing arts medical practitioners I may well never have bounced back from the playing-related injuries that debilitated me so many years ago. Though her passing is a true loss to the field, ALL performing artists are better because 32 years ago Dr. Brandfonbrener wanted to help musicians hurt less. And 32 years later, here I am, hurting much less, and playing with ISO.

Tears well up in my eyes as I think of the legacy of this great woman, and what her efforts have helped me achieve. It is no small thing for me-- who for some time, many years ago, lost all feeling in her left arm-- to be able to play a supporting role to the great Joshua Bell in a superbly stunning concerto.

I believe tomorrow's rehearsal will be incredibly powerful for me. There's nothing quite like making exquisitely-crafted music with a group of exceptionally fine musicians, while remembering someone truly relevant. Thank you, Dr. Alice. In tomorrow's rehearsal I will be giddy because of everything you've done for me, without ever knowing me. Thank you.