Rochester So Far

  1. A quick stop at Wegmans...Jairo and I stopped in there right after he picked me up from the airport.
  2. A trip to SPoT Coffee with Sara.
  3. A few beers at Salinger's with Arthur.
  4. A morning of practicing (for the recording and for orch rep final).
  5. Spending 2.5+ hours with Jairo working on the piece (to be recording tomorrow).
  6. Drinks with Lauren.
  7. Some time spent in the Sibley Library.
  8. No trip to Java's or Dim Sum yet...not sure how that happened...but it will be fixed tomorrow.

Hello Rochester

Hello from Rochester, NY...I'm here for a few days to record the piece the Jairo Duarte-Lopez wrote for me (I played it on my recital...if you were there)...we are doing to recording on Wednesday, but I'm here a few days early to just see friends and practice a bit before the recording. Its always strange coming back...all the people (except a few) are totally different. Funny how the people change so quickly. Tomorrow is for practicing and seeing friends...and maybe practice a bit more. Wednesday is the recording session in the morning...and hopefully some kind of celebration afterwards! Back to Houston on Thursday morning.


La Boheme

I went with Mira to see La Boheme at Houston Grand Opera tonight...I have rarely gone to see operas...just a few at Eastman, University of Houston, Rice, and Tanglewood...and of course I've had some experience playing them (Elektra and Don Carlo at Tanglewood)...but anyways, getting back to the point...I loved it...in its kind of over the top romantic cheesiness its kind of amazing. I've never seen another production of La Boheme, but I really loved the part at the end of the first act, where Mimi and Rodolfo sing to each other and snow started to fall and a full moon appeared behind them. I kind of hated myself for loving it, but I kind of loved it anyways...and I of course adored the famous Musetta's Waltz in the second act...and even the end was moving (Mira was bawling next to me...well, maybe not bawling). Anyways...its always nice to get out of the Rice bubble and go see something that we don't have a lot of exposure to.

I could really see myself playing in an opera orchestra...the operas at Tanglewood have both been highlights of my summers (and my musical life in general)...I've been finding myself listening to operas all the time lately...perhaps I will get a taste of the opera orchestra lifestyle next year...of course, that all depends on how my Houston Grand Opera sublist audition goes...cross your fingers for me and think good thoughts on May 15th...I will slog through a grand total of three excerpts (Magic Flute Overture, the solo from Tosca, and a few randoms from Aida)...and hopefully after that I will get to play something or other with them next season.

Or I can just keep holding out for the Met.


The Week in O(h)M(y)T(rill)

  1. Two Vocal Recitals today...Lindsay Kesselman is performing downtown at Uuniversity of Houston Downtown Campus at noon, she is doing the Berio Folksongs, and we are playing her dad's piece "How I Hate This Room"...I'm playing a cantata on Bethany Solheim's recital this evening...
  2. I'm playing with the Baytown Symphony...out in Baytown (of all places)...I used to think that Baytown was really far, but then I played in Beaumont...and found out that it isn't.
  3. I'm joining the Musician's Union on Wednesday...mostly so I can do the Baytown gig, but I've been looking for an excuse to join for some time. So there it is.
  4. Seeing La Boheme at Houston Grand Opera on Wednesday...I've never seen it, and I've never been to HGO, so it should be fun. I'm auditioning for the HGO sublist in May.
  5. My Ravel Chamber Group (also known as the Baggins Society Chamber Players) is playing on a Jump! concert this week...we will be playing for lots of little kiddies...I hope they like it.
  6. I'm subbing in a freshman chamber group...their cellist is injured and I just played the Brahms B Major Trio last semester, so playing on a recital with them on Friday, just the last two movements. Random.
  7. My final Shepherd School Symphony Concert on Friday...we are playing Stravinsky: Symphony of Psalms, and Mahler 4...kind of a heavy program, but it should be good!
  8. My final week of classes ever? I had my last academic class last week...so now its all music stuff all the time...school technically ends on Wednesday, in case you were wondering. I have no immediate plans to start a DMA, so right now this is kind of the end for me...yikes.


I Heart Carter

I just returned from a performance of Elliott Carter's String Quartet No. 1...performed by the Pacifica Quartet at the Cy Twombly Gallery (part of the Menil Collection) here in Houston. I had never heard the piece before, and I listened without a score (Mr. Fischer was sitting a few seats away avidly following his). I guess that I can't claim to be new to Carter (since I just did a recital of four Carter works and recently played a movement of the cello sonata from memory!)...but I really felt that the piece worked on a musical level...most people have a hard time relating to Carter's abstract rhythmical language...but I think the real reason (aside from his obvious innovations to rhythm and construction) that he has become such a legend, is that his pieces work emotionally beyond all that.

I kind of realized in the end, during the final violin cadenza, that I was totally captivated by the piece. Even though it was over forty minutes long (of pretty abstract material) a lot of the piece really spoke to me, and it seemed to the audience as well. I really enjoyed the slow movement, with the dueling duos: forceful cello and viola recitative style against the two very high and slow violins. I really want to play this piece now (and not just becuase it starts with a cello cadenza).

I didn't realize that Carter was going to become such a large part of my life...I kind of ended up doing mostly Carter on my degree recital (4 Carter works and one other contemporary piece)...this was really my first experience with Carter, and I dove right in. This summer he will become a much larger part of my life when I take part in his 100th birthday celebration at Tanglewood...46 Carter chamber pieces have been programmed. I have no idea what I will be playing (hopefully something really good) but I know at least that I will be taking part in the two orchestra concerts consisting of only Carter music!! Yikes.

And with a face like that, who could say no?



The Houston Tuesday Musical Club competition is now over...well, I'm done...but I was also the 4th person to go. I think it ends at 4pm...I'm not expecting anything though. The Carter went pretty well, no memory slips or anything! Dvorak, on the other hand, was not so hot...it may have bordered on horrendous...especially at the end of the development. Turns out the judges stopped me, but I didn't hear them, and I kept playing, and getting more and more unsuccessful...oh well...it was 10am...

Later today I will be performing the Introduction and Allegro by Ravel (with harp etc...Mary would be proud). My group performed it last week, and will be performing it a few more times after this...so we have been pretty low key about the whole thing. Its at 4pm in Duncan Recital Hall at Rice University if you are interested (we are first).

Tomorrow if the day of Brandt...we are starting his opera: read through in the morning, and then right on the the sitzprobe in the afternoon...yikes...the performance is on Wednesday. For those of you wondering, its a contemporary chamber opera by Anthony Brandt (composition faculty here at Rice)...string quartet, some percussion, and two singers. Should be interesting...I've been on an opera kick lately, so I'm looking forward to this!


Good Work, David

I somehow managed to wind up with the correct Final Game in my NCAA Bracket (on facebook). I kind of randomly filled it out at the last minute and forgot about it...and when I checked yesterday, I was suddenly doing really well (#1 among my friends on facebook and #21,890 on all of facebook)...we'll see how it all turns out soon enough...I picked Memphis to win it all...hope it works out!

In other news...its Carter Sonata 23.5/7 for me (the other .5 is spent on Dvorak Concerto)...Houston Tuesday Musical Club Competition is coming up on Saturday morning and I need to play the Carter from memory...ugh...at least I've played Dvorak 75 million times...playing both in studio tomorrow...we'll see how that goes...I'm off to practice now, and rehearse with Patti, and most likely practice some more!



I had a dream last night. I usually don't remember my dreams, but for whatever reason this was one was particularly vivid. Anyways, you all know that I'm playing in a competition next Saturday (Houston Tuesday Musical Club)...in my dream, I got the day of the competition wrong and had to sprint over to the location and perform with a pianist provided by judges. For whatever reason, they didn't seem to care, and thought it was really funny that I didn't bring a pianist with me. I couldn't find a chair that I liked, and then when I did, the stage was slanted back, so much so that my chair was actually sliding backwards off the back of the stage. The judges didn't seem to think anything was wrong with this...then I realized there was a huge podium set up, and I asked if I could play there, which was ok with them.

Anyways...I somehow ended up playing really really well, except that the pianist was retarded and couldn't follow me at all. Dvorak was going really well, although I was very worried about how the pianist was going to sight-read the Carter. Luckily, I woke up before we got to it.


Mystery Gig

The mystery gig (as mentioned below) was revealed this morning, when I went to play the gig. All I knew was to show up at a Steakhouse (random) at 11am...so of course, I got there a bit early, in case we were supposed to start playing at 11...which it turned out we were. We were playing for a wedding, and nobody knew anything about anything that was happening...so we talked to the groom and decided to play the Wagner Wedding March for the bride...pretty standard...the minister came up to us and shared the fact that he knew nothing about what was going on either...so we played prelude music for 45 minutes (because the bride hadn't shown up yet) and then a quick rendition of here comes the bride...we were sitting outside in a gazebo, and it was kind of cold and maybe even raining a little bit...wish I had known that before...oh well, at least we were covered. Anyways, the ceremony was quick and painless and we got paid...so all is well that ends well, right?

Spring Recess

Right now at Rice, we are enjoying spring recess. This is not much of a break, however: only two days off of school. Last year it coincided with Easter. In case you were wondering. I was looking at my calendar yesterday, and I reallied how much stuff I have coming up...a contemporary opera, a very long gig (6 services), a few other gigs, yadda yadda yadda...but its better to be busy I suppose. Right?

The Musiqa Concert last night was a success...all of the pieces went over very well and I didn't end up making a fool of myself or anything. I hope I will be able to play with them again...its always so great to be able to just play a fun concert and actually get paid for it!! I guess thats why we do this...because when it all works it, its really not like working.

I have a mystery gig this morning...I have no idea what I am playing for. The music director of the Woodlands Symphony hired me and just gave me the address and the times...no other info. We'll find out soon enough what it is...I guess.