Had my lesson with Norman Fischer this morning. I don't think it went very well. In the past when I played for him he has been very enthusiastic and excited, today he was very take it or leave it. It also doesn't help that I didn't play well. Bach and Dvorak were very very tight. He told me to think about what the main thing was in each piece and concentrate on that...we made the Bach sound much more improvised and light and fluffy...I didn't really like how it sounded, but it was much easier to play. On Dvorak we worked on building more space into everything without actually putting anymore space into anything: basically he made me realize that I have more time to do everything...he told me to concentrate on sound...it made things easier to play and I thought it sounded better. Rochberg went really well and he said that it sounded good and I had a very big and open sound (so at least he knows that I can make that type of sound!).
He charged me $120 for the lesson...I wasn't really expecting that. Not a good sign in my mind.
Regardless of the lesson...I wasn't very impressed with Rice for some reason. I always knew they had an amazing orchestra, but what I didn't know was that their lives revolved around the orchestra. According to one source: how you do at Rice really depends on how you play for the orchestra conductor -and- The orchestra conductor is by far the most powerful man at Rice....Apparently he is some sort of genius. This would all be fine, but I have no interest in investing almost all of my time to orchestra. I'm sure I would learn some very important things...but I feel like I've already spent so much of my time playing in orchestra and its not a very rewarding experience. Sometimes its really fun (French Concert anyone?) and sometimes the music is really fun, but most of the time its a drag.
PS> Mr. Fischer commented that he thought I was much more at home with contemporary music.
The music building at Rice is completely white and completely spotless...the walls have not one item of anything on them. It's really kind of scary. In front of the music school is a large grassy field full of dead grass and trees that are struggling to stay alive...it wasn't very attractive. The campus kind of scared me, but that is most likely the fact I am so used to being at Eastman where there is no campus.
I hate to say it, but it seems like going back to Eastman is becoming more of a possibility in my mind. I don't particularly want to go back there, but for the things I am looking for, it seems to have much more of them than any other school. You can have a good teacher basically anywhere, but at Eastman I would be able to play in lots and lots of contemporary music things...this doesn't really happen at Rice (or NEC for that matter) I guess Juillard has some and I have no idea about Mannes...at least they are both in a city that has lots of contemporary music. Rice was one of my top choices, but after this trip I can't really see myself going there...I would however go with CCE...but that is a completely different situation and it has such a small chance of happening that I know I shouldn't count on it. But hey...that's why you go to these places right?
And I listened to the producers soundtrack a lot on the way home and discovered a new line to obsess over:
"He's having a stroke...of genius!!!!!"
Guess you have to hear it...enjoy the Houston pics.