Feb 23, 2008

In which Devora visits Carnegie Hall, and many other things

Hello everyone!

As always, exciting things are afoot and I have many interesting things to share.

First of all, that lovely snow-free streak has officially been broken. While it has snowed a few times in New York this winter, it has never accumulated. Until yesterday. It snowed and snowed and SNOWED on Friday, and there are still piles of white stuff everywhere, though some of it is melting away.

The first orchestra concert of the semester was Thursday. Despite a shortened rehearsal schedule, the orchestra performed admirably. Now of course, it's on to the next set of repertoire for the March concert, which is the second of a whopping seven performances this semester. We'll be performing Bernstein's Chichester Psalms, among other things.

Now, for some exciting stuff. Kronos Quartet, which I mentioned in October, played at Carnegie Hall on Friday night. I was excited like you would not believe, except that when I went to call the box office to buy my ticket a few days before the concert, they were completely sold out!! I was rather heartbroken. However, my friend Seth got called in at the last minute to play on a recital next door, in Weill Hall. He invited me and another friend to use his comp tickets, which we did.

Funnily enough, Seth actually got to meet the cellist of Kronos when they were both walking in to rehearse on Thursday. Seth is a huge Kronos fan as well, and is actually going to California in April to work with the founding cellist of Kronos. Current cellist gave Seth his most fabulous business card, and told him to look them up when he gets to California. Ah, but I digress.

The recital was given by Karen Parks, a soprano. She just released a CD, which is No.2 on the classical charts, and this concert was apparently promoting her album. The program featured music by African-American composers, and tastefully included several art songs in contrast to the spirituals. She was fantastic! Her outfits were fantastic! And Seth, who played only one song, was fantastic as well!

While the audience was far from being full, there was a very good turnout, and Ms. Parks got clapped back onstage twice to give encores.

Afterwards, Seth, Louis and I were quite hungry, so we wandered down the street to Angelo's Pizza, where we feasted on spaghetti e pollo cacciatore. We ordered the family size portion, and were all ridiculously full by the time we finished. A considerable while after that, we all finally made our way back to Brooklyn to turn in for the evening.

More exciting news: I apparently made a very good impression in January when I performed with Ensemble du Monde at Merkin Hall. The conductor likes me, and just invited me back for their next concert, which is April 2. The big piece on the program is Schoenberg's Verklarte Nacht. I think the theme is Austrian composers, or something interesting like that, because the other composer on the program is Mahler. Anyway, I really enjoyed my last stint with du Monde, and am pretty excited to have been invited back. And the Schoenberg piece is a fantastic one to be able to say I've played.

Not much else going on right now. I am very busy, and am going to be extremely busy as of the beginning of March. My recital is about a month away, and there are so many things that are happening all around it! It's a good thing that busy-ness equals happiness for me, otherwise I might go to pieces!! I've also been in touch with many composers in the past few weeks, which makes me very happy; there are numerous performance possibilities for new and exciting works in the coming months. I cannot think of many things more exciting than collaborating with composers and performing new music, and can't wait to get my recital out of the way so that I can really dive in!

Well, that wraps it up for today. I hope you all are doing well and having a lovely time with whatever you are up to!

Feb 5, 2008

In which quite a bit is revealed

Well you probably won't believe this, but I was meaning to post an entry on January 27th. Why, you ask, would I have intended to post specifically on that date?

If you look to your left you'll see a concert flyer for Ensemble du Monde. They gave a performance the evening of January 26th at Merkin Hall, which is across the street from Lincoln Center. And I played with them!!!

It was a really spectacular concert. I must say, though, that Merkin Hall is not as large as I had expected. Nevertheless, the audience was about half full, which is pretty good considering that the New York Philharmonic was doing a concert right across the street!

We premiered a piece by an African composer, "FredO," who wrote a Meditation for Darfur. It was a very moving experience, both for the performers and the audience, who, for at least a minute after the piece had finished, sat in silence because they did not know how to acknowledge such a powerful work.

The rest of the concert consisted of Copland's Appalachian Spring and de Falla's El Amor Brujo. The soloist was Lori Kaye, and she was fabulous!!!

The whole experience was very exciting to me for many reasons. First, it was Merkin Hall, playing contemporary music with a professional ensemble. In addition to that, though, I had the privilege of meeting the composer. He came to some of the rehearsals, and we talked a bit about the piece. He's incredibly inspiring, and actually took a liking to me! After the concert he told me he hoped to work with me again (and no, I don't think he said that to anyone else).  Like I said, very exciting and tremendously good.

Since that concert, school has started again, and I am back in the seeming center of chaos, even busier, if that's possible, than last semester!!
Three composers have begun writing for me. One has almost finished his piece, and is submitting it in a composer's competition. One is about half way done, one is just beginning, one hasn't quite begun yet, and yet another one felt left out  because two of his friends are writing pieces for me, so he wrote a piece too!! So now there are five composers, where before there were only four.  My philosophy class is going very well. I haven't had any experience discussing aesthetics, which happens to be the specialty, if you will, of my professor. The course is cross-listed four ways: as graduate/undergraduate, philosophy/music. So there is a fair mix of this combination, which makes for very interesting discussion.

Oh yes! One more thing. I now have a recital date. It is Wednesday, April 9th, 2008 at 7pm. Exciting! And stressful!

I think that is all of my news for now. Life is unfolding at an excitingly fast pace these days, and I'm sure I'll have more things to tell you about rather soon!