Dec 12, 2007

(almost) free at last

Hey everyone!

Well, the semester is nearly over. This is exciting for many reasons. First of all, I DESPERATELY need a break after the chaotic craziness of the past six weeks. Second, actually having time to do things like sleep and practice is now a possibility. But also, there are many, MANY exciting things I'm looking forward to next semester, and I sort of want February to be here already. But I'll get to that in a few paragraphs.

Things I've done in the past few weeks:

The contempo concert was at the end of November. The weekend immediately after I played for the BC Opera Theater's production of Massanet's Werther. The next day (Monday) was the first composer's concert, on which I played Dan Blake's piece (posted above). A few days later I performed Dvorak with my trio. The Monday after that (ie, a few days ago), was the second composer's concert, on which I played in five pieces. Around all of these exciting performances I've been working, practicing, rehearsing, teaching, lesson-ing, and all sorts of other exciting yet mundane things.

Last week I finally got the results of the huge comprehensive exam I took in November. I passed all four sections, which was unsurprising to about everybody but me. So that means I'm just about all clear to graduate in June.

I'll be flying back to Iowa next Thursday, after my student's mini-recital and my Master's recital audition and the music department's annual holiday concert. I'm looking forward to seeing everyone, catching up on sleep, and getting some much-needed work done on my poor violin.

Now, about next semester and all of the things I'm looking forward to. For one thing, I'm very anxious to graduate and be done with school for a very long time, if not forever! Also, I'm taking a music philosophy class to fulfill my music history requirement (those of you who know about my philosophical past will appreciate my excitement about this). But perhaps the most exciting thing of all is that I'm collaborating with four and counting composers who are either writing pieces for me or that involve me. Let's call it the Solo Violin Project.

This all came about in October when I began considering what to program on my master's recital. I was trying to find a piece in memory of Grandma, but didn't really find anything suitable. A close friend of mine suggested commissioning a piece, and after a great deal of thought and discussion with my peers and teachers, I sent an email to one of the composition faculty asking if anyone was planning to write something for violin in the spring or would be interested in a collaboration. My thought is that a composer and myself could mutually benefit from the other person's knowledge, thereby avoiding the hassle of actually having to commission something. Instead of merely answering my question, he actually forwarded the message to all of the composition students.

Nine of them responded. Ten, if you count the one who offered to write a piece but not in the spring. Anyway, I've been trying to narrow down my choices. Half of them I was able to eliminate because of previous, less-than-ideal experiences with either their working style or simply the music iself. But four of the composers I met with were so compelling and had so many fascinating and exciting ideas that I decided to let them all write pieces! Of course, this meant I had to alter my original intention of having someone write a piece for Grandma. After all, what can a person do with four elegies?? Instead, I told them all to just write for violin, and if it happens to be a piece I can use for my own purposes, so much the better.

One of them has already begun working, and two of them are studying some violin music in order to understand possibilities and limitations. Obviously I'm not going to program all four pieces on my recital, but I am considering giving a separate recital of just new music. To make that happen, I might have to look into getting grant money to make it worthwhile for everyone who might be involved. My master's recital definitely pales in comparison to all of the amazing and fantastic possibilities which the Solo Violin Project will entail.

In other news, I'm going to work on obtaining the recording of the second composition recital so that I can post more pieces for your enjoyment.

Happy belated Chanukah to those who celebrate, and very happy holidays to all!!

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