BSO Cellist

Today I had the pleasure of sitting next to the one and only Martha Babcock in orchestra. For some of the pieces on the orchestra concerts, BSO members play with us, and yours truly is sharing a stand with hers truly. It was a little embarrassing for me, since I can't really play my part and have bad fingerings and in general don't sound very good (at least on the Strauss...which is the only thing she's playing on the concert). I thought it was interesting to have her there...she didn't say much to the section, but she did provide a certain energy that was lacking before (or maybe everyone just wanted to impress her?) I will have the pleasure of sharing a stand with her for one more rehearsal and the concert, which will be nice. For the Shostakovich I get booted out of my seat by a different BSO player and I will sit in the last stand by myself. It will be sad, and I might cry.


Create Like Crazy!!

According to statcounter, somebody found my blog by searching for letter shaped sponge. Thats all.

Tiny Car.

My mom just wrote an entry about this...but I would just like to take a minute to say that I am completly in love with Smart Cars. When we were in Europe (on the cruise...) there were tons of these things everywhere. Of course, they are far to small to drive in the States. If you ever got into an accident, you would be crushed into nothing (or at least a very compact version of yourself). But they are really cute. I would most like to live in a city where cars are not needed (I guess that makes my choices: NYC) but if I needed to own a car, I would like to own one of these. The two person version...I drive, the cello sits in the passenger seat. Everything would work out perfectly. Apparently someone is planning on releasing the smart car in this country...I will be at the front of the line to buy one. And check above for some pictures from Dubrovnik (the complete set is over at facebook...but you can see the better pictures on flickr).


My profile has been viewed 1019 times since opening a blogger account. This makes me feel special and validated. Especially since there isn't anything special to read in there. So thanks, and keep reading.



Yesterday we had a complete day of TMCO Rehearsals. The Shostakovich came together pretty well with Bernard Haitink...a bit sloppy, but it was ok. The Strauss Death and Transfiguration was a total mess. People don't really know their parts (probably because we spent a week practicing our Shostakovich Quartets) and things just aren't happening. At the sectional we were forced to read the piece at warp speed...even when it was slowed down at the rehearsal yesterday things were crap. Hmmm....if we can barely function in this tiny little tone poem, how are we going to get through all of Elektra?!?!!? I went to the yoga center yesterday to use the fitness room...very tiny, and nobody really uses it. It was just me and one other guy. I ran on the elliptical for 20 mins and that was all I could do...better start getting back into it! According to their scale I have gained 10 pounds since I lost the weight from the cruise. I find that hard to believe in life after love but, maybe its right? Today it is raining a ton. Which I kind of like. The only problem is that my umbrella is in the car, so I can't use it to get to the car. Which gives me an excuse to wear this little target jacket that can protect me from the rain. Yay. I have begun to play phone tag with the mysterious Lauren R...she will be up in the Berkshires for Bang on a Can at MassMoca, which I really want to go and see! If only the program was free, I would be there in a second (if I got in!). But I guess this summer I will have to be happy with just seeing their concerts. And anyway...I get to play some crazy shit here at Tanglewood...I should see if the Turnage parts are ready yet. And now I have to join Shakira Heather Braun in the car to go to rehearsal.


Summer Listening List

  1. Hips Don't Lie
  2. Pump It
  3. Everytime We Touch

It is guaranteed that everytime we touch get in the car I get this feeling these three songs will be played. Thank you Shakira Heather Braun.


Moving On.

The Tyringham Quartet completed our first and only performance yesterday around 3:00pm. Things went pretty well...I wish I could have played a bit better in the Shostakovich. I missed some things that I really hadn't missed before, but other parts did go well, so overall, I should be pleased (note the prominent use of the word should...indicating that I am most likely not pleased...but honestly, am I ever?) So now things take a big shift from how they were going...I must bid farewell to my lovelies of the Tyringham Quartet and begin to think about orchestra, which starts tomorrow with a lovely string sectional. After four years at Eastman I have come to dread the string sectional...as all of you Eastmanites know how those dreadful sectionals in OSL 101 go...one thing I WON'T be missing about Eastman. The first orchestra concert consists of Mozart Symphony No. 35 (which has become close to my heart as an excerpt that I used to be good at...but lately have failed at...perhaps it will return to me someday?)...Strauss Death and Transfiguration, which I have always wanted to play and Shostakovich's Symphony No. 10...which should be delightful. Bernard Haitink will be conducting us. Also in the works are rehearsals for the Shostakovich Octet. I thought it would be hard to work with four completely new people (especially after coming off of three years with the lovely Cape Cod "Its one brain over here" Experiment)...but it is indeed very difficult to work with SEVEN (count em) new people. All should be well in the end I think. I have used to word lovely quite a few times in this entry. One question: I suddenly have an urge after going to an excerpt class to take the BSO audition (not a real one, its just for TMC fellows to play a concert with the BSO over the summer). Perhaps I will practice hard for the next two days and make a fool of myself at the audition...what do you think? If I did that, then I could also take the New World sub list audition a few days later! I think I might just go for it. I leave you with this picture of the Tyringham String Quartet...its short life will be remembered for at least a week. (you can view more pictures here if you have a facebook account...which you should...loser...)


More from Tanglewood.

Just got back from a good yoga class. I was much better at it than I expected myself to be, seeing as I haven't really done it in four years. One thing that was really bugging me was the fact that the instructor didn't always show you the pose...he would simply describe how to get into it, or sometimes just say its name and you were supposed to know what to do. Not all of us are on the same yoga wavelength. I had to quietly spy my way around the room several times to see what others were doing and kind of adjust mine accordingly. Overall I think I did rather well! I don't see the 7:00am meditations really working out for me...and today the grand master yoga guy said, "I know that the 7am meditations won't work for all of you." Therefore, I don't really see myself going to them much at all. Starting next week, going to yoga classes will be much easier (since we won't have string quartet from sun-up to sun-down). Ack! Speaking of String Quartet...the concert takes place this Saturday in Ozawa Hall on the Tanglewood Grounds. There are three concerts, 10am, 1pm, and 4pm...everyone plays Mozart and Shostakovich. My group (the Tyringham Quartet) will be performing last on the 1pm concert...so if you are in the area, you must surely stop by and see us. I guess we played the Mozart loud enough to warrant it ending a recital. Tomorrow is the dress in Ozawa Hall...everyone says that it is a really bizarre hall and that you can't hear anyone at all since the stage goes back 40 feet behind you, and the ceiling is also very high. Should be interesting to pull off performing for the first time with a new group of people I don't really know a concert of difficult music in a setting where we won't be able to hear each other! At least the Mozart is loud.

Speed Blogging

More rehearsals.


First performance over.

The Tyringham Quartet survived our first performance (well, it was just a masterclass). Things could have gone a lot worse, but they could have gone a lot better. I was actually kind of nervous, but it all worked out in the end. It looks like we are going to perform all of the music we have learned (meaning the entire Shostakovich plus the Mozart)...which means I need to start practicing my ass off. And we need to rehearse a lot more. And the concert is on Saturday. So yeah. Should be fun. And I just talked to someone here who I thought I recognized. It turns out we were at Point Counterpoint at the same time and lived in the same cabin...crazy!!

Remembering CCE.

Last night was the first of 2 three and a half hour masterclasses to take place during the string quartet seminar. Last night's could have been subtitled: "A CCE Celebration." The reason for this is that several CCE classics were performed. First, the memorable Shostakovich String Quartet No. 5...alas, Heather and I were not sitting next to each other, so we could not make faces at one another. Oh well. Probably more important was the performance of one quartet that shall remain nameless but should be recognized easily by its immortal lyrics: Would you like a pistachio? Or perhaps a pecan? Or would you like... A Quartet by Bartok? Miss CCE lots...where are you guys?


She might be Japanese now.

Welcome back Ms. Kimberly Fitch (aka Fimmy) I will call later tonight I believe. Is this completely inappropriate for a blog entry?

Not Tired Anymore.

Its time for another day of String Quartet Seminar at the Tanglewood Music Center. This means there will be hours of rehearsal starting in a mere 10 minutes. Following that there will be hours of coaching. And then after that there will be hours of masterclasses. And then it all repeats again the day after. Its a good thing I like doing it and I have a good group! In other news: I took a nap at 7:30 last night...and woke up at midnight. I then went to sleep for good and woke up this morning at 8:15 (after turning off my 6:40am alarm and skipping meditation). I didn't realize I was that tired...but maybe now I will be finally caught up on sleep? Time to go and play high notes.



My group just rehearsed from 9:30-12:15 with no breaks. And know we have coachings from 3:-5:45. In other news: I stepped on my sunglasses.



Check the facebook profile for photos from Dubrovnik (Croatia) and Taormina (Sicily).

String Quartet Seminar.

Tanglewood has officially begun. During the first week I will only be concerned with the String Quartet Seminar: most of the string players are assigned a quartet and you learn two pieces. This year everyone learns a Mozart and a Shostakovich...I have Shosti 14, which was dedicated to the cellist of the Beethoven Quartet (translation: lots of cello stuff). We had our first coaching today with Joel Krosnick (who we will have all week) and it was really great! He just recorded the Shostakovich Quartets with the Juilliard Quartet so he had so much information just ready to go. I am very interested to here their recording now, since he talked to so much about what kinds of moods and characters he was thinking about when playing it...so interesting!! I had never known anything about him before, except that lots of people want to study with him...and now I know why! If only I hadn't been rejected from Juilliard (although I wouldn't have studied with him if I had been accepted...oh well!). The schedule for this week plays like a typical CCE one: rehearsal from 10-12...then lunch...free period after lunch (my group rehearsed rather than taking a break) then back to back coachings from 3:00-5:45. I have realized that I really do enjoy being super busy. During the yoga retreat we had to write done 10 things we love about being a musician and 10 things we hate about being a musician...I put extremely busy schedule under the things I love...is that strange? My group is pretty fun...one current Rice violinist, one recently graduated Rice violinist, and a violist from Yale (who I met at New York String Seminar two years ago!). The Shostakovich is going surprisingly well...the Mozart Adagio and Fugue is much much trickier and will require more careful rehearsal. But things are going well so far!! Yay!



I'm now at Miss Hall's School...aka where we live at Tanglewood. Meeting occurs in 8 minutes. Rehearsal begins tomorrow.


Things are very calm.

Heather and I have officially arrived in the Tanglewood area. We are a day early to the festival (most arrive tomorrow) because we are taking part in a special yoga/music study thing. We had to fill out tons of forms and questions and for the rest of the 9 weeks we take yoga and meditation classes and get free lunch and fun spa days at the Kripalu Center (minutes away from the Tanglewood grounds). Things were a little too touchy-feely (feel your emotions type stuff) for me today, but I think in general things will be good. We are staying at the yoga center tonight and its a very quiet and reflective place. Heather and I needed to escape to 'historic Lenox' for a quick ice cream. Is it a bad sign that the meditation tonight was making me really hyper and on edge? I could hardly stand it. Maybe I should work on that. Tomorrow we participate in more yoga fun and get transferred to Miss Hall's School, where we live for the rest of the summer. TMC starts the next day in all its glory. More to come later!


List of the Day

  1. Current Location: Room 209...Eastman Student Living Center, Rochester, New York...courtesy of Sara B.
  2. Hours spent en route to above mentioned location: 12.
  3. Hours spent in a traffic delay in above mentioned route: approx 1.
  4. Vehicles involved in above mentioned accident: a bus and a truck carrying livestock.
  5. Number of times Unfaithful was heard on iPod/radio: at least 5.
  6. Number of times Shakira was heard on iPod/radio: not enough.


Leaving once again.

This week at home has been rather uneventful. Mostly consisting of errands (with a brief break for a wedding). Tomorrow Heather and I leave for Tanglewood, land of lots of music. BT3 embarks sometime close to 7am and will bring us to Rochester tomorrow night, where the lovely Sara has agreed to put us up in an undisclosed location (aka the dorm!!). Dim-Sum should be consumed and crazy Rochester times will be had. Hopefully in the next few days my schedule will become ironed out and more consistent, therefore making it more possible to blog. I feel lately as if I have not been a part of the blogosphere...both writing, and reading other blogs. I'm so far behind on reading others that I might as well not try and catch up. But hang in there faithful OhMyTrill readers, a more normal blogging pace should return in the next few days as I get settled in Lenox or Pittsfield or whatever. Tomorrows listening list includes:
  1. Strauss: Elektra
  2. Shostakovich: String Quartet No. 14
  3. Hindemith: Matias de Mahler (or something like that)
  4. Shakira
  5. All of the old favorites (The Producers, Nutcracker, Wagner?, Cher)


Back and not blogging

I've been back for a few days now and haven't been able to blog. The internet here is horrendous and hardly ever available (we have one line and my dad is on it all day). Whenever I get a chance to blog, there seems to be some issue with wither blogger, or the badness of this internet connection. But anyway...jetlag is starting to wear off. I woke up kind of early this morning, but its getting better. I was pretty out of it for a few days. I finished watching season 4 of Six Feet Under last night: such an amazing show. Seasons 3 and 4 are nowhere near as strong as seasons 1 and 2 (which are spectacular). The writing kind of gets lost and we aren't really sure where things are going (and they don't really go anywhere). Not to mention some very "much talked about" episodes, such as when David gets hijacked by a hitchhiker and gets tortured really intensely for an entire episode (which was over an hour). Crazy. They threw in a shocker in the end, which I didn't see coming. I hear season 5 is amazing and the last episode is one of the best ever to end a show. I wonder if I can watch the entire thing before I leave for Tanglewood? Embarrassing: I kind of like Rihanna...scary I know. Lots o people is coming in for a certain event happening tomorrow!! Should be exciting!

Trip: Final (Monaco)

**Let's just say when you have shitty internet, its much harder to blog. Here is an entry I wrote a few days ago**
Right now, as I am typing this entry, I have a beautiful view of the country of Monaco: more specifically the Grand Casino. The ship pulls right into the city here...if I jumped into the water from my room it would literally take me 3 minutes to swim to shore and about another 5 to walk to the Casino! Today me and my parents explored the city...it rained in the morning so we went to the old section of the town and took a tour of the Prince's Palace. Its a very nice place complete with lots of art (that isn't very good) and very fancy furniture (that isn't really used). Nonetheless, I wouldn't say no to living there. Monaca is the same type of tiny little Euro-town (with mini-streets many of which are pedestrian only) but it has been much more built up like an American city. There are tall, modern buildings all up along the hills here, and it looks really cool! They are starting to get set up for the Gran Prix, an auto race that takes place in the streets of the City (the entire country is the city, and only the area directly around the Casino is called Monte Carlo). There are bleachers everywhere! The sun came out in the afternoon so we went up to the Casino, which is beautiful. This really is a city of the rich and famous: designers stores on every corner (and in between every corner!). Everyone looks fabulous all the time. They worship Grace Kelly like a god!! Huge yachts are constantly pulling in and out of the harbor. We went into the casino, put you need to buy chips to get into the actual betting area, and you need a passport with you to buy chips, so we just saw the lobby. Tomorrow we fly back to Chicago via Nice and Paris. It should be long and uncomfortable. But much fun awaits me at home, so I am looking forward to it! I will enjoy my final evening aboard the Crystal Symphony, and will hopefully reboard in the future with CCE!


Trip: Day 11 (at sea)

Let's just say I had too many Limoncello Martinis at the captain's farewell cocktail party (they were free...so I just kept getting more...) Hmmm...today was uneventful. I saw a cooking demonstration by world famous chef Sam Choy: he made shrimp cakes with creamed orzo sauce. They were served the other day at the dinner he threw, and they were very good. The rest of the day consisted of sitting around and doing nothing. The deadline for postcards has passed...if you gave me your address I did send you one, don't worry. Some of you with foreign addresses: I hope I wrote them down correctly!! Tomorrow we will be in Monte Carlo. Right now I have a headache.


Trip: Day 10 (Florence)

First off: I love Florence. Second off: the Uffizi Gallery is a madhouse. I must have had very large expectations, but the place was just crazy. They literally heard you from room to room since there are so many people there; and they limit the number of people inside: you have to make a reservation, so technically there shouldn't be too many people in at the same time. The worst was waiting to see The Birth of Venus...the room right before is very very small, and people were hoarding up at the gate until the woman finally opened it and a huge flood of people ran in to see the painting. OMG. Disaster. The whole experience was not fun. The art in the gallery is infamous, but it was a kind of torture inside. The true joy of the Florence visit came from seeing the Duomo. I remember being very excited about the huge dome on the cathedral in art history and seeing it in person was amazing. I had no idea that it was so huge. We didn't have a chance to go inside and/or climb to the top of the dome; if I ever come back that will be first on the list...although the doors on the baptistry are not original (a copy after the original was damaged in a flood) it was still very interesting to see. The Duomo is an amazing building: built in the same huge intimidating style as the Vatican. For sure one of my favorite stops on the trip. For the first time we took a complete guided tour of Florence...stopping at the above mentioned sites as well as a few others around the town. I felt kind of lame...we really could have done it ourselves, probably much more effectively. The guide that we picked up on the street yesterday knew loads more than the one that was hired by the cruise ship. Whatever...I loved the city anyway. Shopping and eating was also performed after the trip to the Uffizi. Tonight a concert was given by a pianist that is a grad of Eastman! I talked to her afterwards and she gave me some advice on getting a cruise job. Persistence is key! I just need to do a tiny bit more investigative work and an application will be written and sent. This could actually happen! The pianist was good, but her program left something to be desired...she obviously aimed her music at the older crowd (notice a trend in entertainment on this cruise?) and featured lots of boring dead composers. Figures. Tomorrow is the deadline for postcards, so if you didn't send me your mail address you won't be getting one. We will be at see tomorrow, so a few last minute submissions could be entertained. Don't hesitate! One day after tomorrow we will dock in Monte Carlo as the final stop. I would like to go into the Grand Casino, just to see it; you know?


Trip: Day 9 (Rome)

Today was the impossible: see Rome in one day. I guess if you are going to see anything at all in Rome, the #1 would be the Sistine Chapel (as well as the Vatican Museum, and just the Vatican overall). So when we got off the bus this morning, we proceeded directly to the Vatican to get in line. And when we got there, the line was at least two hours (or more) long. It was ridiculous. I think something like 30,000 people see the Sistine Chapel EVERY DAY. And most of them were in line. So we are looming around, looking at the line and this woman comes up to us and is like, "I have a tour guide near the front of the line, you can pay 37 euros to wait in line with her and get a great tour." So we did it. We skipped more than half the line (which subtracted AT LEAST one hour off the wait, probably more...we couldn't even see where the end of the line was). She bought our tickets for us=we didn't need to wait in ticket lines...We had to wait about an hour total, but after that we got a guided tour of the major sites in the Vatican Museum...and omg... ITS AMAZING. You must go here if you ever go to Rome. Every room you walk into is chock full of tons and tons and tons of art EVERYWHERE. Apparently, the Vatican Museum is the largest museum in the world in terms of amount of stuff..and I believe it. Our guide covered the most major items (the School of Athens, some major sculptures, the Sistine Chapel...duh) but we breezed through soooo many rooms with hardly even a glance...and we hardly saw any of the rooms. This place is INSANE. And of course its all worth it to see the Sistine Chapel if nothing else. While studying the panels a piece of paper may be more effective (since the art is so high up) its amazing to walk in the chapel and just be completely washed over with amazingness. There is just so much life everywhere you look in the chapel. We got to look for ten minutes, and that was hardly enough to see it. As we walked out I kept looking around the corner, trying to get my last looks in. Who knows if I will ever be able to see it again. I am so happy that I was able to see it at least once. {sigh} After the Chapel and Museum we wandered over to the Basilica where one of the most famous/important pieces of art is: The Pieta. It is very far back and covered in glass (since a crazy tourist ran up to it with a hammer a while back and chopped off the virgin Mary's nose which has since been replaced). The sheer size of the Basilica is amazing. I never thought I would see a church that large. They were really trying to intimidate with size. On the way out in the public square they had all the chairs set up for the Pope's regular public appearance. It was strange to see a place that I seen so many times on TV! Its MUCH bigger in person (duh) and just as intimidating as the rest of the Vatican. Ridiculous. The rest of the Rome trip was Rome on speed. We tried to catch some major sights on the way back to the bus: The Pantheon (which was closed) and the Spanish Steps. It was raining very heavily and we were soaked and some people were getting mad etc...but I am happy to have glimpsed these sites at the very least. I got to climb the Spanish Steps (no pictures were taken because of the heavy rain)... I think that Rome is my favorite stop of the trip so far...Definitely the most artistically important. however tomorrow will challenge it. We dock in Livorno and will be taking a bus to Florence where we have reservations at the Uffizi Gallery. In art history the Uffizi was the default answer for works that we weren't sure which museum they were from...so basically, they have everything. OMG...I'm sooo excited. PS> Thank you to Lucy Durkin for getting me really excited about seeing all this art. If it weren't for her class, I probably wouldn't have cared much. To everyone who reads this blog: give me your address for postcards...I don't care if I hardly know you; I have a ton of them. Just email me your address and get a postcard from Europe! I hope everyone is having a fabulous time at home!! Miss you all!


Trip: Day 7/8 (places in Italy)

Sorry about the lack of update yesterday...the internet was down and I didn't feel like sitting around! To answer some questions: I tried to take one picture of the volcano, but it was very dark, and it was not a huge eruption, so it kind of just looks like a red spot...not very exciting. And yes, the freaky hanging thing was a cable car, but for some reason I have always called it a funicular. Is that weird? And I didn't know that Brad was telling people about my blog! Omg. I have spent the last two days in Sorrento, Italy...it is a very beautiful location near the Amalfai Coast (the city is very near to Naples). While the town itself is not a huge attraction (although it is very cute) there are tons of things to do that are not too far away. Yesterday we traveled to the historic city of Pompeii, covered by ash and lava in its prime. It was very fun to see it (I think I used to be really interested in it when I was younger). The casts of people (covering their faces etc) were kind of disturbing. Definitely worth more than a one day stop...we walked around for hours and saw most of the major sites, but there was still at least half of the village of Pompeii to see, not to mention Herculaneum and the Village of Mystery. Crazy! My dad and I ventured back into Sorrento last night to catch a little bit of Italian night life. It was cute. Today we traveled to the Isle of Capri: home of lots of beautiful things. I guess it is kind of a hide out for big celebrity types, but we didn't see any. It was really over crowded and annoying and we didn't have much time there (we got a late start and you have to take two different boats to get there). We skipped the famous Blue Grotto (some sort of cave you sail into via a tiny hole and get surrounded by a blue like created by light reflecting through the water) but we did make it to one of the most famous perfume stores in the world (the name escapes me). Apparently they make custom perfumes for all of the biggest stars etc...We made one very major purchase: a sort of egg with music written on it. My mom pointed them out in a shop window, so we went in to investigate...and low and behold, the piece was the Prelude to the Second Suite (aka The Old Standard)...as you know this piece holds a special place in my heart (and in my audition rep) so the asking price of 205 euros was ignored and the piece was purchased. I guess the artist is an Italian pianist and you can only find her work in this one store in Capri and another in a tiny town somewhere else in Italy. Cool! Again, I am wearing a tux for formal night. The theme of tonight's dinner was French: not my favorite, but good as always. The show featured movie musicals tonight; alas, it was aimed at the older crowd of the ship, so I recognized only about half of the songs. Oh well. Tomorrow we will attempt the monumental task of seeing Rome in one day. It is a holiday, so things may be a bit closed and strange. My mom insists that the Vatican will be open (since it is a different country and wouldn't observe Italian holidays). We will proceed directly to the Sistine Chapel, my one request for Rome! Omg!