Trio Arkansas had a successfull Little Rock debut last night...there were probably about 150 people in the audience. We played the Brahms C Major Trio and the Ravel Trio...I played a set of Beethoven Variations, and Geoff played the first movement of the Faure Violin Sonata. Not an easy program for the pianist! I was definitely feeling it at the end...my left hand was not happy about all of the trills in the last movement of Ravel!

We have a few weeks off now...starting to plan out upcoming concerts...we will be playing an all-Schubert concert sometime in May (Louis is making me learn Arpeggione! something I really should have worked on by now...so I guess its a good thing) and we'll be playing something at the Anthony Chapel at the Garvan Woodland Gardens on June 19 (piece TBD). Kimberly will be joining us for a concert the weekend after July 4th...

Now I start to get into extreme practice mode for the Utah Symphony audition in a few weeks. I did a good heavy week of practice about 2 weeks ago, so I think everything is in pretty good shape, but now I need to just keep it all at a high level.


Summer So Far

Haven't written in ages...but thought I would check in with a little summer update. Currently in Little Rock with very little to do save walking the dog a few times a day...which is hardly possible since its so hot! We have reaching 110 almost everyday (heat index, not actual temperature!)

Most of my summer so far has been taken up with a Europe Trip with my parents. We took Baltic Cruise on the Crystal Symphony...flew to London (and spent a day and half there), boarded the ship in Dover...stopped in Oslo, Copenhagen, Visby, St. Petersburg (for three days), Helsinki, and Stockholm. The weather was amazing for the whole trip...sunny and 75 in most places (which apprently is very rare for that part of the world) I was totally messed up time-wise, for basically the entire trip we lost an hour every night, then when we stopped in St. Petersburg, got used to it, and the started getting them back as we went in the other direction. Add an eight hour flight back to Chicago, and I was super confused...I've started posting pics on facebook, so be sure to check it out.

Had a busy week upon arrival...annual July 4th Arkansas Symphony concert at the Downtown Ampitheater...performance of Brahms 1st Sextet for a local chamber music camp, a Sturgis performance of the Mozart Adagio and Fugue, and I played the Prelude to the 2nd Suite...all in the same week...made it through just fine despite the jetlag. (Although the Bach could have been faaaaaaar better!)

Now I find myself hanging out with not much to do...I'm gearing up to leave for Tanglewood in a little under two weeks...I'll be playing Knussen: Where the Wild Things Are as well as a Carter American premiere called What Are Years. Very excited. Next week I'll be teaching at an adult amateur chamber music camp here in Little Rock...so things are looking up in terms of boredom!


OhMyTrill Returns

My schedule for the past week or so has been: wake up for Schoenberg rehearsal at 10-2, come home, walk the dog, take a nap, wake up and get ready for Mahler rehearsal at 7:30-10, go home and go to sleep. repeat.

Sturgis played Schoenberg 1st quartet at the Clinton Library last Tuesday...the performance wen't reasonably well, although it was definitely far from perfect. We had put tons and tons of work into it, rehearsing for four hours almost every day for two weeks. Its a beast of a piece, by far one of the hardest quartets I have ever played (Schoenberg 4, Pearle, and Plylar are all among the hard ones). The audience seemed to like it as well, they aren't used to hearing music like that as it isn't usually performed around these parts. But we didn't lose too many people, and they seemed pretty excited about it.

ASO played Mahler 2 this past weekend...I had never played the piece before, and had to do bowings from a completely blank part...so, needless to say, I kept changing everything during rehearsal. Oops. One of our cellists had to drop out at the last second, meaning we performed the concert with only 7 cellos...Mahler writes "as many strings as possible" in the score...I guess in Arkansas, seven is the max.

My parents were in town for both concerts...we dined at Loca Luna, Capital Bar and Grill, Flying Fish, Juanitas, and the River Market. They seemed to have a good time and enjoyed the concerts, even if a hike up Pinnacle Mountain turned out to be a very bad idea. Oh well...


Busy + Flu Vaccine

For whatever reason, January-February are turning out to be quite the insane/crazy time for me this year. I'm subbing with the Quapaw Quartet for their next concert (Jan 19) which just happens to be next Tuesday...we have been rehearsing for a while now...Shostakovich 3 and Brahms 1. Its coming together, but that Brahms is just soooo hard...it seems like no matter what you do, it just never gets any better...ugh. I have talked to several folks about it, and they all agree...just doesn't seem to work very well!!

This week we are playing our 4th Masterworks concert of the year, which means we are also auditioning our 4th conducting candidate: Fusao Kajima. He was on a roll at our rehearsal on Tuesday night...naming cities in Arkansas for every rehearsal letter...he turned out to be very charming, and lead a pretty decent and effective rehearsal. We'll see how the rest of the week goes. He picked a pretty orchestra and audience friendly program: Villa-Lobos Sinfonietta No. 1, Grieg Piano Concerto, and Dvorak 8 (which just so happens to be one of my favorite symphonies...mainly thanks to a certain performance led by James Levine and Tanglewood...sigh).

In my infinite wisdom, I decided that I needed to get my flu vaccines...since we play for some many schools, I didn't want to pick it up from anybody, and I hear that H1N1 is coming around again...(I think Arkansas was hit pretty hard by it last time)...so I went over to Arkansas Children's Hospital (where I volunteer every other week) to get my shots...both seasonal and H1N1, one in each arm. About 8 hours later, during orchestra rehearsal I starting feeling a little sickish...by the next morning I had aches and a fever...still went to my Rheinberger rehearsal (since that concert is coming up on Feb 5)...but after that I made a steady decline...had to cancel an informal Quapaw Quartet concert and a Sturgis Quartet rehearsal because I had a 103 degree fever...ugh...sat around all day, and it got better and better...so I'm about to head out to orchestra rehearsal...we'll see if I make it or not...I'm feeling fine though.


Good Food etc...

I think I need to stop giving Daisy tennis balls. She loves them, and will chase them every time you throw them across the room, but she always ends up chewing them up into a million pieces and I end up picking all these tiny little rubber chunks out of my rug. And there are a bunch of tennis ball scraps around all the time, as pictured. But she likes them so much, I'll probably just keep giving them to her.

My mom gave all of the dogs (Daisy, Gus, and Jo) tennis balls for Christmas. They all had fun chasing them around for a few minutes...Gus and Jo lost interest, but Daisy kept destroying them for days...and we got a few to take home. I gave her one yesterday when I got back from Chicago, and you can see what it looks like in the picture...

I went home for a week and a half...we celebrated my dads birthday, my recent audition success, and of course, Christmas. The highlight of the trip (besides getting to see my parents of course!) was eating at two of Chicago's best restaurants in one week. The first was Arun's, a Thai restaurant: no menus...they just bring you a 12 course tasting dinner (6 appetizers, 4 main courses, 2 deserts...with 5 different wine pairings) The highlight of the meal was definitely the one bite salad...so much flavor in one bite...it was kind of insane.

My favorite of the two was Topolobampo...you may have heard of chef Rick Bayless from Top Chef Masters (which he won)...we all got the tasting menus here too...only 5 courses this time (with a wine pairing going along with each course)...each one of my courses used a different kind of mole (who knew there were so many?!?!?) It was probably the best meal I've ever had!


Quick Catch Up

Things that have recently happened:
  1. On December 5th, I auditioned for and won the principal cello job in my orchestra. There were only three candidates, but they were all very good. I practiced really hard...doing a mock audition everyday, including two at 9am (which is when the actual audition was). It was the most prepared I've ever felt for an audition, and I'm happy with the results (duh)
  2. The following day I played the Messiah at UAPB (University of Arkansas Pine Bluff). Their choir is very very very good, and its always fun to hear them. It is also the most complete Messiah I've ever played...I think they leave out 2 numbers. Maybe 3?
  3. I have been super busy as I have been playing with Sturgis (my usual quartet) as well as subbing in the Quapaw Quartet fairly often. I'll be playing a recital with QQ in January, so we have already started rehearsing.
  4. I went home to Chicago for the first time in several for Thanksgiving. I mostly just practiced that weekend. And I met my parents new dogs: Gus(tav) and Jo(hannes).
  5. I played my first Nutcracker this past weekend. I was a little bit nervous, since it was my first service sitting principal and I had never played the piece before. I think it all went pretty well though. And we only played it twice, so I don't hate it yet.
Things that will be happening this week:
  1. Several rehearsals with QQ (we are playing Shostakovitch 3 and Brahms 1).
  2. Holiday Pops with the ASO (a brand new show...should be fun)
  3. Rheinberger rehearsal at Cathedral of St. Andrew (performing with Drew and Phil in February.
  4. Not 1, but 2 gigs!! This is unheard of for me in Little Rock...
  5. More blog posts? Maybe people will read this if I actually write something once in a while. Hmmmmm...



I'm have a very relaxed Halloween this year. No parties, no costume...I just walked Daisy, didn't see any trick-or-treaters...or anybody in costume for that matter. I wouldn't even know that it was Halloween if it wasn't for the fact that today is Halloween. Instead, I hung out with Phil...we went to Buffalo Grill (there was a crazy raccoon hanging out there, excitedly eating berries off of a tree...random), and then saw Cirque du Freak: The Vampires Assistant. I kind of liked it...but I'm sucker for anything with vampires in it. It was cute.

Now I'm hanging out on the couch with Daisy...gonna watch some Dexter and then head to bed. We have a rehearsal for our children's concert tomorrow night...which includes La Mer and the famous cello excerpt...we will only have 6 cellos (5 for one of the concerts) so its gonna be awfully exposed...and joy! I'm playing the top line. So basically, I will be hanging out at my apartment all day practicing (there are a few hard pieces on the concert that I've never played before). I'm glad we are presenting actual music to the kids!