Apr 19, 2008

an update of epic proportions

Hello everyone!

I am noticing that it has been exactly one month since I last updated. This seems funny because, after rereading what I had been up to, those things seem to have happened a very long time ago! But I digress. I have many things to share, so I suppose I had best get started .....

1. Brooklyn College Orchestra: We had three concerts in the span of a week, which seems like a lot. March 27 was the actual orchestra concert, which featured the Conservatory Concerto Competition winner, who in this case performed Mozart's G Major Violin Concerto. The other big piece on the program involved the choir as well: we performed Bernstein's Chichester Psalms. On March 29 the music department sponsored its first Brooklyn College Choir festival in Manhattan. Three high school choirs performed a few selections each, culminating with all three choirs plus the BC Chamber choir presenting Chichester Psalms again. April 3 was the second annual President's Concert, a glorified fund-raising event which showcases a number of ensembles and musicians in the department. And the orchestra, being the most involved ensemble in the conservatory, had the unique privilege of sitting onstage the entire concert (which was televised) in order to perform with the Opera Theater folks and the Concerto Competition winner.

At left is a picture from last year's President's Concert, and you can easily see yours truly sitting right behind the pianist, Angelo, who was last year's concerto competition winner.

The President's Concert was also my last concert as concertmaster of the orchestra. In light of the many endeavors I undertook this semester, I decided to step down in order to refocus my energy to the things that are actually important to me. Like new music!

2. Ensemble du Monde: If you recall I performed with this group in January at Merkin Hall. That concert was great fun, and I met a very interesting composer and got to play great music and all sorts of other exciting things. The director/conductor was really impressed by me, and invited me back to play the April concert, which featured late Romantic/20th century Austrian music. The concert was April 2, exactly a week before my recital. We played Verklerte Nacht (Transfigured Night) by Arnold Schoenberg, Songs of A Wayfarer by Gustav Mahler, and a violin concerto by Hans Gall. It was a particularly demanding program, but very well received by the audience.

3. Brooklyn College Conservatory Prep Center: I don't think I've previously mentioned this, so I'd best explain. At the beginning of the semester I began a sort of assistantship with the Conservatory's pre-college program. Every Saturday, I spend an hour and a half rehearsing and assisting with two chamber ensembles. We are coached by Kalin Ivanov, who was my chamber coach last semester and a very amazing person to work with. On April 5 both groups performed on a chamber concert and did an excellent job. I should mention that the students I've worked with range in age from about 10-11 to 16, which often causes me to remember my own experiences at that age. It has definitely been really rewarding to play with them and help them to become fantastic chamber players.

4. My recital: I was extraordinarily stressed out in the six weeks leading up to April 9. My accompanist was away from the middle of March until the day before my recital. I found this out the day before he left, at which point we had only rehearsed one of the pieces on my program. This ultimately meant I had to take very unique (and desperate) measures in order to really learn everything: having my friends (who aren't "serious" pianists) sightread my accompaniments so that I could actually play through things before my one real rehearsal, as well as obsessively listening to recordings of my entire program downloaded to my ipod. The recital itself went well enough, and I had a decently sized, very enthusiastic crowd, and I passed, which means I do get to graduate next month, so what else could I possibly ask for?

Well, that just about brings us up to today. This week is spring break, but don't be fooled into thinking I am any less busy! Aside from working, I will be learning the vast amounts of music I will be responsible for knowing in the coming weeks, doing some serious spring cleaning (having a cat around definitely makes things a bit ... hairy. ha ha!), working on a Philosophy of Music paper that is due soon, and hopefully working in a nap or two.....

After spring break I have an astonishing seven concerts before the end of the semester: contempo, two opera performances, two composer's concerts, Graduate Center contemporary ensemble, and a reading session for the composers in residence with the orchestra. I have a staggering amount of music to learn this week, but I am extremely excited about each and every one of these concerts.

And now you are probably wondering what I will be doing after that. After that as in, after I graduate. While I've had to put off the bulk of that question until now, I do have the beginnings of a plan which I will share for you in my next entry, which I will be posting in the next few days.

Really. Did you want me to keep going? This update is already kind of epic! And the next one will be, too. Trust me.

Happy Passover!