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!



I just got back from dinner with my friend Phil...we went to Pei-Wei, so of course opened fortune cookies. He opened his which said:
"No need to worry! You will always have everything that you need."
And then we were joking about mine being the opposite...and when I opened it, it read:
"Live, think and act for today. Tomorrow may be too late."
That is kind of the exact opposite in my book right? So to make the situation better, I opened a second cookie and the fortune read:
"Try to channel excess energies into rejuvenation." Do you think I should be concerned??



I just finished putting together my part for the Bach Cantata we are playing next week. For whatever reason, all of the solo movements are written in the bassoon part, but they are actually played on cello. But all of the recits are written in the cello part...so I just combined them together. Now I need to sit down and really learn this stuff...I've worked on the main "cello aria"...but I have to go back and work on the recits...as you all know, this is something I really excel at.

Not so much...

Our season starts this week...Bach rehearsal on Monday...orchestra rehearsal on Tuesday...its going to be a bit busy for awhile, especially since I will be teaching at least 5 students at a church in Pine Bluff and teaching a college class at University of Arkansas @ Pine Bluff (string methods)...I'm still not exactly clear what is happening with this class...but I'll be meeting with the Music Department Chair tomorrow afternoon (and then teaching the class right after!!) Hmmmm...should be interesting.

And I really need to start going to the gym again. I think I will go biking this afternoon. And I will actually go!!


Quick Summer Update

  1. After the Braun wedding I went home to Chicago for a few days.
  2. Heather came down to Chicago a day later. We had fun.
  3. I received my new Chris Dungey cello in the mail...its pretty great.
  4. Kimberly flew into Chicago and the 3 of us rehearsed for a day.
  5. Then we went to Taste of Chicago...it was fun.
  6. Then we drove down to Arkansas. It was also fun. But a long drive, as usual.
  7. Jonathan Ware drove up to Little Rock, the 4 of us rehearsed for a few days.
  8. Kimberly's and my picture was printed in the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette...however, her's was next to a picture from Legally Blond with a woman holding a small dog.
  9. We played two concerts in Little Rock, one at the Cathedral of St. Andrew with Phil) and one at UALR to benefit the AIDS Foundation. Both went fairly well, and we had a pretty good audience.
  10. We parted with Jonathan, and the 3 of us drove back to Chicago.
  11. We boarded a plane to Oregon, and then stayed there for about a week to play 3 concerts in Ashland (Kimberly's hometown).
  12. I got to meet Chris Dungey, he drove down to Ashland to hear me play the new cello and do some adjustments. He is a super nice guy!
  13. We spent a day in Portland decompressing after the many many concerts. I met up with Chris again and he did some minor work on my cello.
  14. The 3 of us parted ways and I flew back to Chicago and stayed there for a few days.
  15. I needed some alone time, so I drove back to Arkansas.
  16. But 4 days later I drove back to Chicago.
  17. K-Huf flew into Chicago, and the 2 of us drove up to Stevens Point, WI for two weeks of Suzuki Training.
  18. We took Cello Book 1 with Jean Dexter...it was a fairly involved course with 28 hours of class + 15 hours of observation + some homework assignments + two optional lectures everyday.
  19. We survived, but we were pretty tired everyday. Coffee in the morning, redbull in the afternoon.
  20. We drove back to Chicago last Friday...K-Huf and I parted ways on Sat...I spent a few days at home taking care of some odds and ends and haning with my parents.
  21. Yesterday I drove back to Arkansas and was treated to dinner by the one and only David Barker. It was a very nice welcome back to Arkansas.
  22. I went to sleep cause I was really tired...and woke up this morning and paid some bills.
  23. Then I wrote this entry. Hope I didn't leave anything out. It has been a crazy summer.



I'm back at home in Wilmette now...I drove up from Arkansas on Tuesday. For some reason, it slipped my mind that I would need to be going home at some point, so I was kind of scrambling to get things together on Sunday and Monday...but it all turned out just fine...well, except that I left my dress pants back in Little Rock, and I need to wear them tonight and tomorrow for the Braun wedding extravaganza. But since Moby ate my extra pair, I was in need of buying some new ones anyway...so I did...yesterday.

Since I've been home, I have practiced a bit, done a bit of CCE scheduling for the time we will be in Little Rock (well, really just typed up what I had already scheduled) and brought my bow in to get rehaired. All very exciting for you to hear, I'm sure.

In just a few short minutes, I will be en route to beautiful Milwaukee, WI where I will meet up with the one and only Heather Braun. Her sister is getting married tomorrow and I will be playing for the ceremony, and doing double duty as Heather's date.

Fun times!

Oh!! And my cello should be arriving on Tuesday!!! Yay!!!


Photo Shoot x2

I have spent the majority of the last few days sitting under the burning hot sun getting 365 photos taken of me by the fabulous Sharrell Holcomb. Beth (who lives in my building) hooked me up with here, and the three of us met on Friday afternoon at the Clinton Library...and ended up taking about 200 pics around the grounds there...and then when were weren't satisfied...met the next morning and went over to the North Little Rock side of the River Trail and took a whole bunch of pics on a cement formation in front of the quarry...and then drove up to Fort Roots and snapped a few more!

Needless to say, it was a pretty tiring two days of sitting in the sun.

But I did get a whole lot of pretty cool pics. Sharrell has a great eye for catching some really interesting shots. Unfortunately I have been kind of sluggish in the eating and exercise department so I came out looking a little more porky than I wanted to. There are a whole slew of super artistic shots though, and some where I do look quite handsome...if I do say so myself.

The main reason (for me) was to get a head shot with my instrument that I could send to the Arkansas Democrat Gazette for the article they may or may not be writing about the upcoming Cape Cod Ensemble Concerts in July and I definitely got a few that I could use for that. I think I'm going to go with the one posted at the top of this blog. What do you think?


Dog Sitting

For the past few weeks I have had the pleasure of dog-sitting Zhuzha. Zhuzha has stayed with me before when her mother (Tatiana, the violist in my quartet) has gone out of town for a day or two. However, she has been gone for nearly a month, and Zhuzha has settled right in with me. Its kind of nice to have someone to keep me company when I am sitting around at home!

I'm also getting very used to having a dog...and I'm thinking that I'm going to have to replace her when Tatiana comes back home. Well, at the end of the summer at least, since I'll be in and out of Little Rock for a few weeks!

Today I am doing double duty...my upstairs neighbor Beth is out of town for the day, and I'm taking care of her Dog, Ginger, as well. This morning I tried to walk both of them at the same time...but Zhuzha was not terribly happy about this (although they have shared plenty of walks before)...and I was going to have Ginger hang out in my apartment so she wouldn't have to sit by herself all day...but Zhuzha was not very welcoming, so poor Ginger has spent the day by herself upstairs. And they have been getting walked separately.

More exercise for me I guess.


Busy Busy...Busy

The past few weeks have been super busy...much more so than I could have anticipate. I guess I was just super scared of having three months with nothing to do (since the ASO is off season right now) so I went ahead and over-scheduled myself.

I have been working hard on finding a venue for the Cape Cod Ensemble to perform...after many phone calls and visits, I finally was able to schedule Stella Boyle Smith Concert Hall at University of Arkansas @ Little Rock. This concert will benefit the Arkansas AIDS Foundation...so tell everybody to come!! (Monday July 6th at 7:30pm) Special guests Kimberly, Heather, and Jonathan will be in town for the concert!!

This past weekend was the Arkansas AIDS Walk...I basically signed my life away for two straight days volunteering for this event. Friday night we had a wine and cheese kick-off event at the Boswell-Mourot Art Gallery in the Heights. I drove around with Michael all day picking up stuff for the event, and then getting the gallery ready. And then I had to play for an hour and a half! Then the next morning was an early morning and more running around picking up last minute items for the walk...set up and talk down...and many many hours standing out in the sun (it was a beautiful day)...needless to say, I passed out soon after I got home.

All in all, both events went very well and everything was a great success! Now its on to getting all the details in line for the concert...its only three weeks away!!

In other news...I was supposed to be going to Denver on Thursday to pick up my brand new Chris Dungey cello...but I got a call last week saying that he had fallen ill (possibly with the swine flu?!?!?) and he wasn't going to be able to get the varnish on there in time to bring it to Denver (and in fact, he canceled his whole Denver Trip)...so I'm not going to Denver anymore (sorry Mary...) and I'm waiting to hear what the new delivery plans will be! Should be any day now.


Lets Catch Up

Its been too long between updates on here...but strangely enough, many things have been going on...or so it seems. We are wrapping up our season here at the Symphony and I'm trying to get everything organized for the summer. Here's what has been going on:
  1. The Sturgis Quartet (along with the Rockefellar and Quawpaw Quartets) drove up to Mountain View, AR to do a short residency at the Ozark Folk Center. Sturgis had a fantastic time...we did two demos at the at the Folk Center for some kids from the area...took part in a concert in the evening, and then went down to the town square for a jam session with the folk musicians. I didn't participate in the jam since I can't play that genre of music to save my life...the musicians at the folk center are really great...and they dance while they play too. This was definitely one of my favorite things we did all season! (and we had some nice quartet bonding time too)
  2. My parents were in Little Rock this past weekend for my birthday (which was Sunday)...we hit up all kinds of Little Rock restaurants including: Brave New Restaurant, Community Bakery, Ferneau, Damgoodepies, and Loca Luna. They all brought me some nice items from IKEA...I still need to put together one of them...it looks complicated.
  3. Played a wedding in Hot Springs with Sturgis at the Garvan Woodland Gardens. My parents came with me and they got a very mini tour of Hot Springs. They weren't impressed.
  4. Rehearsed for a pops concert to be played on my birthday (which included a terrible arrangement of Star Wars per my bday request) which ended up being canceled due to rain (it was outdoor, duh) I'm not complaining!!
  5. Sturgis played our final demo of the season in Lewisville, AR on Tuesday. Maybe next season we won't have to drive so far for all our demos? hah...yeah right.
  6. Finally got my Suzuki stuff in order...I actually got a scholarship to attend the Stevens Point Suzuki Institute...so after this summer I will be officially Suzuki Certified!! Maybe I'll get some students now...hmmmmm.
  7. My final symphony service of the season is this friday... I've got about 2ish weeks off before I pick up my cello and the CCE tour begins. Its all very exciting. This will be a fun summer.


This Week I...

  1. Played at the Designer House on Mother's Day (and called my mom of course!!) It was kind of rainy and weren't to many people there for the first hour or so. We also had to play trios since Andy's finger is injured right now. I think my mom enjoyed the card I sent too. I hope.
  2. Volunteered at the AIDS Foundation Monday-Thursday-and Friday (well, I will volunteer on Friday and I'm there right now). It has been pretty quiet around here lately.
  3. Background gig at the Capitol Hotel on Tuesday evening (once again a trio) for Little Rock Arts Week. I'm not sure what Arts Week is, or what goes on as part of it...but we played trios for two hours while an artist sketched us. Its was kind of cool...and there were a good number of people there. Wish I knew more about the event though...
  4. Played a demo in De Queen...this was a very very long drive, about three hours each way. (basically to Hot Springs, and then another 2 hours past) We were almost in Oklahoma. We also saw a very large woman wearing pajamas riding a moped with her helmet straps flapping in the breeze. Only in Arkansas.
  5. Went out to the Whitewater Tavern on Tuesday and met Aaron (new friend) there. It was the first time I have been out in months and was exactly what I needed. Cheap beer, decent music, and cool people...whats not to like? I'll def be going back. And I may have even found a cello student? We'll see if she contacts me.
  6. Actually started to feel comfortable here in Arkansas. Kind of scary...but much better than feeling uncomfortable I think. With the lack of auditions being announced and the lack of people actually getting hired (NY Phil took nobody) it seems like I might be here a little longer than planned. Which is not necessarily a bad thing...just not where I expected to be.


Crazy Summer??

So, when I realized that I was going to be faced with a summer with no music festival...the first summer this has occurred in sometime...I was a little bit worried about what I was going to do with all my free time (since the ASO only has one concert on July 4)...people told me I will love having nothing to do the whole summer...but I'm not who does well with a lot of time on my hands, I like to be busy as much as possible...so here is how my summer is looking so far:
  1. May 29...My final symphony service of the "season" playing at the Arkansas Children's hospital...
  2. May 30-June 12...two weeks off, I'm probably gonna volunteer at the AIDS Foundation a whole lot...and maybe be completely insane about working out so I can get in good summer shape...yeah right...
  3. June 13...The AIDS Walk...I'm working on getting an Arkansas Symphony Team together...do you think $500 is a resonable goal? or should I go higher?
  4. June 14-20something...I will be in Denver at some point during this time to pick up my new Chris Dungey cello
  5. After I spend a few days there I'm gonna drive over to Chicago (with both cellos in hand) so I can be at attendance at Heather's Sister's Wedding in Milwaukee...I'm playing something or other, not really sure yet...but it will be the first public appearance of my new cello!!
  6. After the wedding is complete, Heather and I will head down to Chicago and pick up Kimberly, who is flying in on June 30...we will rehearse a bit, hit Taste of Chicago, eat some burgers as cooked by my dad...and then head down to Little Rock...
  7. Heather and Kimberly get the joy of subbing with the ASO on our annual 4th of July Concert (I'm sure we will have a total blast!!!)
  8. The three of us (possibly plus Jonathan Ware) will put on a concert at St Andrew's in Downtown Little Rock (program to include Rheinberger, Beethoven, Dohnanyi, Pleyel, and possible Dvorak...yikes, thats a ton of music)
  9. After this, we head back up to Chicago and then fly out to the West Coast where we hang out in Portland a bit, and repeat a very similar concert somewhere in Ashland...I'll be out on the West Coast from July 8-15.
  10. I'll probably hang out at home for a few days...but head back to LR for a bit as well (since I'll have been gone for about a month!!)
  11. But July 26-Aug 6 will find me at Steven's Point with the one and only K-Huf doing some Suzuki training...
  12. And after that, I will be hunkering down to learn Ives 1, Carter 2, and Rochberg 3 for a concert sometime in Little Rock...yikes...
  13. And then regular ASO starts up again...I'm tired now...
If you will be in or around any of these locations...please let me know!!!!


This Week I Will:

  1. Go to the gym or bike everyday (most likely go to the gym, since the weather forecast looks a bit rainy)
  2. Clean up my apartment a bit...I am slowly getting everything in order.
  3. Play a quartet demo in Corning, AR...this is in the far far Northeast part of the state...I haven't been up there yet.
  4. Go to the dentist.
  5. Play a Pink Floyd concert.


Hello Friday

Since I have been extremely lazy in updating lately I will provide another list of the things that have been going on in my life. Its not very exciting:
  1. This week has been quite busy at the symphony with rehearsal almost every night for our concerts this weekend. The program: Appalachian Spring, Don Juan, and Symphonie Fantastique. I'm glad I've played them all before!!
  2. The usual volunteering at the AIDS Foundation...it has been quite busy here...we just sent out two very large mailings about the AIDS Walk!
  3. Played concerts in Russelville and Jonesboro last weekend with the ASO...this was not exactly fun since they are kind of far away...but I do like playing Schumann 2!
  4. Beath and Fim are coming to Little Rock this summer!!! We will be playing a super fun concert at St Andrew's Cathedral...and then we will head off to Oregon. I can't wait!!!!


Whats Going On

I haven't posted in a while...guess this is overdue...here is the current happenings:
  1. Met to discuss possibly quartet concert with ASO friends...program to be Ives #1, Carter #2, and Rochberg #3...its kind of a crazy undertaking...but would be super fun! Estimated concert date sometime in August. Rehearsal all summer.
  2. I volunteered a whole bunch at the AIDS Foundation...as usual.
  3. I got my materials together for my Suzuki Teacher Training applications and recorded all needed materials (and converted my first masters recital from VHS to DVD).
  4. When I assembled said materials and tried to compile some DVDs of recordings...it didn't really go as planned and I scrambled something together to send.
  5. I still need to figure out how to get my two book four favorites onto a DVD (Breval Sonata and Chanson Triste).
  6. Spent some time and my friend Michael's new condo...he has been doing some work getting ready to move in. I mostly just watch though.
  7. Played at the Children's hospital on Friday...it was a quick visit.
  8. Played at the Symphony Designer House twice...its kind of cool...still not sure how it has anything to do with the symphony...but its kind of cool.


Part of Your World?

Since I have Disney on the brain here are two videos for you. And yes, we are playing this on our concert...but without a singer. (I feel like I've posted this before? Oops)


Haydn vs. Disney

I just got back from our first of two performances of "The Magical Music of Disney"...I've found myself having a ton of fun playing this concert (probably more than any other orchestra concert this season...including the classical ones...oops) I haven't thought about any of these movies in years and years and its fun to go back and play things like The Little Mermaid, The Lion King, and Beauty and the Beast...all these movies that everyone saw and loved when I was growing up.

When The Cape Cod Experiment played Haydn's Sunrise Quartet a few summers ago, we used the opening scene of Beauty and the Beast as an image at the beginning of the first movement of the quartet (when the running 16ths notes start...) When got to the "Bonjour" part in rehearsal last night, I was totally expecting it to be the Sunrise Quartet...oops.

Here's the clip from Beauty and the Beast...in case you are confused...


Carney Concert Complete

For the past few days I have been quite consumed with rehearsing for and performing a concert at the Clinton Library with Jon Carney (the concertmaster of the Baltimore Philharmonic). He came in on Monday morning and we had rehearsal from 9am to about 6pm...and then back the next morning at 9am...and the concert Tuesday night at 7. It was really fun to play with him...we did the Michael Nyman String Quartet No. 2 (just three movement) amplified and everything. That was a workout...I'm not exactly sure how people play the whole quartet...maybe the other movements aren't quite as loud and fast and repetitive? We also played the Piazzola "Fuga y Misterio" that was fun.

I was actually kind of nervous about a big solo I had the the Piazzola "Otono Porteno" but all went very well...and I even hit the extra shift I added high up on the D-String...maybe I'm actually getting better at hitting high notes??

This weekend we are playing a complete concert of Disney Music complete with clips from the movies projected above the orchestra. I think it will be really fun!! I have never played any Disney stuff before...the first rehearsal is tonight...


Cello Update

I just received an update from Chris Dungey (who is currently in the process of making my cello).
Your cello is coming along. I have the back and top arching complete. The ribs are done and the scroll is rough cut out. Next will come the thicknessing of the T/B, inlaying of the purfling, cutting the sound holes. Assembling all the parts to then start the varnishing process!! I'll try and send along a few pics. When I get a chance. Cheers for now...
Its so exciting to know that things are finally moving along!! I can't wait to get my new cello!


NWS=Oh Well...

As you were all aware, I was hoping to move down to Miami next and join the New World Symphony...I had subbed there about 2 months ago and loved it, and found myself in Chicago a month later borrowing a cello from Carl Becker and auditioning...and much to my surprise, the audition went really well! It was probably one of the better auditions I've played in my life. So I had a good attitude about the results...

I went into a constant state of panic/stress Monday morning when I hear that people were beginning to hear back...being a typical musician, I tried to analyze what everyone was hearing back and attempted to apply it to what my results could be. After a day of staring at my email and phone I had still not heard anything and was becoming a bit worried.

Much to my disappointment, I did received word late Tuesday morning that I had been placed on the Semifinalist list...I was bummed, not only because I hadn't been selected as a fellow (which was super tough this year as there may only be one opening...maybe none) but because I had been downgraded from finalist!

So it is def gonna be another season with the Arkansas Symphony for me...which really isn't all that bad...I mean, this is technically the type of job that New World is training for...and I already have one...so yeah. I can look forward to playing Bartok 3, Mendelssohn something or other and Schoenberg 1 with my quartet as well as Mahler 2 with the orchestra...and I'll keep getting a paycheck ;-)


Day 4+5

I'm still going strong in my exercise goals...I have made it up to Day 5 (day four was spent biking the river trail and day five was spent doing my gym workout) I really expected there to be more people in the gym on a Saturday afternoon...I know that at EAC (my gym when I'm at home in Chicago) it is fairly busy on the weekends...but it was just me and one other guy yesterday. At last I didn't have to wait for any machines ;-)

Today I'm driving down to Monitcello with Tatiana and Algis for the first performance of the Pine Bluff Symphony...Monticello is not exactly close, but its an afternoon concert, so I will at least be back by the early evening (or maybe 8? ugh)...I hope. I am really looking forward to being done with this gig!

I'm gonna go and hit up the gym now...I bet I'll be the only person there...since all the good Arkansans should be at church now.

Above is the picture of a plant I seem to have killed. I don't seem to be very good at growing plants. I watered it just like my mom told me to (once a week) and it just shriveled up and died. I was also told this was a super easy plant to take care of. Oh well...at least my other three are still alive...well, kind of.


Pine Bluff Symph+Twitter

Last night I drove back to Pine Bluff for another exciting rehearsal with the Pine Bluff Symphony. And by exciting, I mean not really exciting at all. Its actually kind of a fun concert, although it does seem a little bit difficult for the orchestra. I have never played in a community orchestra that attempted Schawnter and Korngold (and I'm not exactly sure how they ended up with a violinist that wanted to play the Korngold Concerto...hmmm) At least its a change in scene from the Arkansas Symphony...although many of the members of the PBS are also members of the Arkansas Symphony. Its also a welcome change in rep from the ASO where we only play super standard pieces on every concert...its nice to play something different for once!

For the past few days I have been very concerned with keeping an active presence on Twitter. I'm not sure why or how I developed this random fascination with it...but I have started a morning routine of listening to NPR (online of course) and logging into Twitter and talking to random people I don't know and posting random things and thoughts that most people probably don't really care about. And I have it set up to post my blog posts. As always...you can see my twitter updates at the right hand side of the blog!


Day 3 (second attempt) + Day 4

I successfully made it to the gym this morning and did about 40 minutes on the elliptical. I am going to count this as day three in my attempt to make it to twenty days in a row of exercise, but if a day off happens again soon I'll have to start over. I think that the fact that I wasn't sitting on my ass all day yesterday gives me an excuse to not start the count over.

In other news, this is day four in a row of volunteering at the AIDS Foundation. I almost feel like I work here. Even though I don't. At all. But its much better than sitting around my apartment and doing nothing!

Above is the view from the elliptical at my gym!! It was kind of cloudy that day...I'm not sure why I took a picture.

Exciting Concert!!

I'm actually playing in a fun concert in a few weeks!! Check it out...and if you are here in Arkansas, you should come!

The Mills University Studies High School Gold Orchestra will present an Evening With Jonathan Carney, "Old Bottles, New Wine" Tuesday, April 7th at 7:00 pm in the Great Hall of the Clinton Library.

The program will feature Seasons by Vivaldi and Piazzolla, Arvo Part Fratres, for Solo Violin and String Orchestra, and other seclections by Bach, Gershwin, Hindemith, and Cole Porter. The performance will also include a electronically amplified performce of movements from the Michael Nyman String Quartet No. 2 featuring David Gerstein, cello, Joe Joyner, viola, and Samantha Grelen, violin in performance with Mr. Carney.

Hailed as one of the great concertmasters of his generation, Jonathan Carney is the Concertmaster of the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra and former Concertmaster of the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra in London and has performed as soloist with many orchestras in Europe and the United States. Mr. Carney was a soloist with the Arkansas Symphony in 1998.

Tickets are $20 and are available online at www.izzyslittlerock.com , at Izzy's Resturant, or from members of the Mills University Studies Gold Orchestra


Day Three/Not So Much

Well...I have to admit that day three did not actually happen...I lounged in the morning listening to NPR and having coffee and joined Tatiana for lunch and then headed over to the AIDS Foundation for some volunteering...and I assumed I would hit the gym after that...but I ended up sealing up some envelopes to mail until almost 6 and then went to help my friend Michael pick out some tile (for his new condo) at Home Depot (and help him carry it)...and we had dinner...and now its 10:30 and I am in no mood for exercise and its raining and I may or may not already be in bed.

So, I'm not sure how to treat this...should I start over with day one tomorrow? Or should I count this as a day of rest and continue with day three tomorrow? (see this post if you are confused) I did get a fair amount of exercise lugging those tiles around and was on my feet all afternoon at the foundation...hmmm...I guess thats not really the same as running on the elliptical for 45 minutes, huh?

At least I'm sore from yesterday's workout...I guess that means I actually did something.

Included is a picture of me and Marie-Michel on the stage of the shed at Tanglewood. It has absolutely nothing to do with this post. Thank you.

Pine Bluff Symph

Last night instead of watching the Barack Obama press conference, I was in Pine Bluff, AR rehearsing with the Pine Bluff Symphony. It haven't been playing in community orchestra recently, but I really need to money right now, and we have this week off from ASO, so I'm putting up with the drive (about 45 mins one way). I have to admit, I was a little surprised at the rep: Overture to West Side Story, Korngold Violin Concerto, Barber 1st Essay, a Schwanter Piece, and Lincoln Portrait...its a pretty ambitious program for a community orchestra, no?

I'm glad to have had the chance to play in the Avon Symphony back at Eastman...this orchestra takes the cake for best community orchestra stories...perhaps we can discuss that in more detail at some point, but here's a few key points: conductor wears clothes similar to Cher at the Oscars, no violas, conductor's teenage children in principal positions, old church lady accidentally hitting the samba button on the electronic keyboard during a concert.

So, after that, all community orchestras seem very professional and put together. I do have to admit that there were some frustrating moments during the Pine Bluff rehearsal (mainly during the Schawnter) but at least everyone can kind of play it...and it is definitely nice to be playing some non-standard music for once!!


Day Two

I have made it through day two of exercising (see the post below...I'm trying to do it for 20 days in a row so that it become a habit). Today, since it is raining, I went to the gym and did my routine (as assigned to me by my trainer, Brad)...however, I am kind of out of shape after not having gone for a while and while I am supposed to go through the routine three times...I only made it through twice. Oops...but I figure anything is better than nothing, right??


Day One

Now that the craziness is over it is possible to introduce some things back into my life. One of these is going to the gym and exercising. This has totally vanished from my daily routine in the recent past, and it needs to be reintroduced. Somebody was telling me that it takes 20 days to establish something as a habit. After 20 days of doing something, it becomes a habit and you have effectively gotten yourself "over the hump."

My goal is to do some form of exercise (not only gym...biking or hiking or whatever...to keep some variety) everyday for 20 days. Today was Day One and I went biking on the river trail. It was insanely nice outside...sunny and near 80. However, it was very windy down by the river which provided a lot more resistance than I usually face...so I am very tired now. But suffice to say, it was a sufficient work-out!!


Craziness Over

I just got back to my apartment after the final installment of my crazy-busy week...The Sturgis Quartet gave our third "formal" performance of the year at Old Washington State Park. We performed in the Old Courthouse...down on the floor, as if we were on trial. The acoustics were muuuuch better than we are used to, although it was a bit on the loud and boomy side...the Debussy sounded pretty good in there though. Most of the audience was very attentive and appreciative, but I'm not sure our program of Mozart, Debussy and Schumann was the most appropriate for the venue...perhaps Ives No. 1 would have suited things better...

We are all done with our "real" performances for the year...this one was actually a late season add-on in addition to our two Clinton Library performances earlier in the year. It was nice to have something like this to work and rehearse for, although it was a bit stressful.

Now its spring break...there are no symphony services this coming week, but I am playing in the Pine Bluff Symphony, so I'll have that to occupy my time...


Sad Day

While I have not yet received my official notification, those members of the Cape Cod Experiment have passed along the information that we were not accepted to the Norfolk Chamber Music Festival. Oh well...we had all placed our eggs in the one basket...so now we are all scrambling to figure out what to do for the summer. My options:
  1. Attend some summer Suzuki Institutes and get some Suzuki training in.
  2. Do some self-produced recitals (with or without CCE or CCE members)
  3. Do some random gigs in Little Rock if they come up.
  4. Do some random gigs in another city??
  5. Visit you.
Please weigh in with your thoughts on any of these possibilities and suggest some others that may have occurred to you ;-)



For once I actually have a really crazy week here in Arkansas. As you may have read (in the post below) we had pops concerts this weekend...usually we wouldn't have another orchestra concert for at least a week (or two) but we have another concert this coming Wednesday. That means that I have had a rehearsal or a concert every night since Thursday, and will keep having them every night through Wednesday. I know, it probably sounds like I'm complaining about nothing...but on top of that, my quartet is playing a recital on Sunday which we couldn't start rehearsing for until just a few days ago, since Tatiana was in Russia and I was in Chicago. Oops.

Should be fun! I always like being busy ;-)

Our concert on Wednesday features Rachmaninoff Piano Concertos 1 +2 +3...I have never played any of these, so it should be fun. Its always fun to play stuff you haven't played before...and there are lots of nice cello melodies to play!!


Night Music

This morning I am listening to Sweeney Todd in honor of our pops concert this weekend. Last night, and this evening we are playing A Little Night Music. I kind of wish we were playing Sweeney Todd...Night Music is really not my favorite show...there aren't very many memorable songs in it...just the famous Send in the Clowns, which comes all the way at the very end. It is also, by far, the worst cello part I've ever seen in a musical. They aren't usually very good, but usually a little bit more interesting than this one...

They did Night Music at Tanglewood this past summer...my friend Kathryn and I made of of/sang the song "A Weekend in the Country" all summer...here's the clip. Its kind of ironic to be playing it now for some reason...hmmmm.

Hello Clarendon

Well, the Sturgis Quartet may have had some troubles getting started today...but we ended up having a successful demo in Clarendon, AR. We hadn't done a demo in Northeast Arkansas yet, so its always interesting to see new parts of the state. We drove through a lot of what is pictured above, but also through some swampy/delta type areas...and even went over a nice big bridge over the White River...of course I didn't photograph any of these things. Ooops.

During the question portion of the presentation the kids became fascinated with us all trying each others instruments...and we entertained them a bit...I played violin, and Andy played cello...but when they asked me to play Tatiana's viola, she put an end to it...


Audition Wrap-Up

I am now back in (not-so) beautiful Little Rock, AR...I think it was 80+ everyday I was gone. Now it is supposed to be cold and rainy all week. So far, the weather guys have been right...it cold and rainy right now. The drive was uneventful as always...was great to catch up with some people and nice of them to help me pass the time!

The audition went pretty well...as usual I got there waaaaay too early. They auditioners were at lunch, but the whole thing was "self-serve" anyways...no check in or anything. So I warmed up/practiced for and hour and a half or so...I was the only cellist there, and one of three string players that I saw. There were three tubas though, and a whole bunch of woodwinds. That made the warm up room a little bit on the loud side. But I just sat in the corner with my Dr. Beat and freaked out about playing Mendelssohn Scherzo. That excerpt is just beyond me...there have been times when I've nailed it...but I can count them on one hand. Not the kind of odds you want going into an audition.

They started me off with Bach...I played the "old standard" as Heather calls it...Prelude to the 2nd Suite...I have been playing this piece since my first round of college auditions so I'm pretty comfortable and confident with it now ;-) They hear almost the whole thing, then we moved onto Dvorak Concert...they just hear the first page...I've also been playing this one for years and years (along with every other cellist on the planet).

Excerpts went well...Beethoven 5 was in tune and tempo appropriate (and steady)...I hit all the shifts in Heldenleben and didn't rush...Mozart 35 was clean and I didn't rush (thank you Dr. Beat for the help practicing) and La Mer was in tune! And they didn't ask for Mendelssohn Scherzo...2nd audition in a row that I have lucked out with that one. I truly believe that if they had asked for it in Arkansas, I would not be living here right now.

So now I have to sit and wait and wait and wait...they will let us know no later than April 15th...which is a little over a month away. Gah...I hate waiting. Any second I could get a letter or a call or an email from either New World or Norfolk...and I don't like the suspense!


Hello Chicago

Sorry for the lack of updates...I have been at home in Chicago for a few days now (I drove up last Thursday...that long super exciting drive up I-40 + 57). I have been practicing away, of course. My audition is tomorrow afternoon (at 2:40 to be exact). It has been a fairly eventful trip so far. Here goes...
  1. My parents and I attended the Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra concert at Mandell Hall at the University of Chicago. There was just an SPCO cello audition that I had been planning on taking...but New World called and I took a free trip to Miami Beach instead. They only have three cellos right now, and only used two of them for the majority of the concert. The highlight was definitely the world premiere of a piece by my friend Jake Bancks...the piece was great, the orchestra obviously enjoyed playing it! I have played a few pieces by Jake, and they are always a joy! Jake had a great following there to support him as well.
  2. My mom and I attended the Metropolitan Opera HD Broadcast of Madama Butterfly starring Patricia Racette. It was the first time I had ever seen the opera...gotta admit, its not my favorite Puccini (which would probably be Boheme). It was kind of shocking that all of the theaters in Chicago totally sell out for these opera broadcasts...and they show it in theaters all over the city and suburbs. We bought our tickets online the night before, and had to go into the city because all the theaters close to Wilmette were sold already. Our theater also sold out. Pat Racette is a really great actress, btw. (and singer)
  3. I managed to borrow a really good cello for my New World Audition. I will be playing on a Carl Becker cello made in 1940. I hope that is goes well...send me good vibes at 2:40 tomorrow. (see picture above)


Cello Backs

I just got photos of the three possible backs for my new Chris Dungey cello. I think they are all beautiful, but I'm really inclined to go for the one-piece back. I mean, who wouldn't want a one piece back, right?!?!? For your viewing pleasure:


More Cello News

Chris Dungey also told me that Lynn Harrell recently recorded a DVD with Anne Sophie Mutter and Andre Previn in which he is playing his new Dungey Cello!! I believe it is ready for purchase now, but you can also catch some of it on YouTube...as shown below. I think it sounds pretty good!! I'm so excited to finally be getting a new cello...the pieces are falling into place!

News of the Day

Today the Arkansas Symphony announced, or at least told the performers, what we will be performing on the chamber series concerts next season. I'm not sure if this info is public yet, so I won't list everything out, but I will say that my quartet got totally screwed over. We are only playing one piece that we requested (on the very last concert) and only one piece besides that (a Bach Cantata). Meanwhile, the other two quartets are playing eleven pieces between them. My quartet gets 2. Needless to say, I'm not very happy with the Arkansas Symphony right now.

In other news, I'm leaving tomorrow for Chicago. I'll be there for a week (Thursday-Thursday)...we have some time off from the symphony and I will be taking the New World Symphony Audition. I hope it goes well!! Really really really well that is. The list is fairly standard...and it looks like I will probably be able to borrow a cello for a few days...well, maybe. I have an appointment on Friday with Paul Becker.

No matter what happens, it will be great to get out of the awful state of Arkansas for a week!


Cello News

I had a nice conversation with my cello maker today (Chris Dungey) and its seems like things are really starting to move into place!! He will be sending me a choice of three different cello backs (two that are two-piece, and one that is one-piece...the one piece will cost a little bit extra however) Without having seen them, I'm inclined to pick the one piece...because I think it would be amazing to have a cello with a one-piece back!!

We also started to discuss some delivery options (the rough estimate places the cello being complete around the end of May beginning of June...sometime in June at the latest)...the options for pick up are: 1) Denver, CO!!!!! This would be amazing because I would get to see Mary and Daniel, and of course meet Emily for the first time!!!! It would be so nice to get to meet Emily in person...I see her every day, but only in the picture that is on my fridge. 2) Oregon/West Coast!!! This would also be fun as I would get to hang out with Kimberly! Whatever happens, I'm sure it a good time will be had by all.

And I should say that this image is from Chris's website...linked above, as well as here.


YouTube Symphony

So ther winners of the YouTube Symphony thingy were announced (not sure if it was today or not) and I checked in really quickly...I haven't seen all of them, or even watch the full clips, but from what I saw, I'm not terribly impressed. And I can't complain since I didn't send in an audition clip. I have a feeling that lots and lots of really great people were passed over though. I really only looked at some of the American cellist's clips...the two I saw both played La Mer, and didn't seem to have a grasp of the style...although the one girl did play a pretty decent Bach First Suite Prelude. Well, at least the first few seconds that I watched...I certainly can't do the bowing as well as she did!! Well, maybe if I actually practicied it once.

I guess I'll have to try harder next time and actually send something in. Well, if there is a next time. Hmmm...

Check it out here.

Playing with Twitter

I'm volunteering at the AIDS Foundation again which gives me time to play around with random things on the internet...since I just sit at a desk and answer the phone. Today I discovered some fun things to do with twitter...I had no idea you could post links (like the one about arts funding posted in my twitter box to the right) and you can also post pictures (like the one of my desk posted in the twitter box to the right). I learned all of this on a post at Jason Heath's Double Bass Blog...thanks for the info! Please be sure to check with my twitter, either in the box at the right, or on my facebook status as well!


My Cello So Far

As many of you probably know, I am having a cello made for me by Chris Dungey in Pocatello, ID. His cellos seem to be all the rage right now (recent purchases have been made Lynn Harrell and the principal of the Oregon Symphony). I tried a few out around the country and decided to go for it. Today I received some wood samples of what the cello might look like. I say might, because he said to call him and he will tell me about what I'm actually looking at. I think they look very pretty...although in a perfect world, I would love a shade darker...but I'll see what he has to say about it. (they are darker than they appear in the photo)

I haven't called Chris yet because I have been feverishly cleaning my apartment all day. It looked so gross when I woke up this morning, and something had to be done. I've literally been cleaning it all day. Please enjoy this clip of Lynn Harrell playing his new Dungey Cello.


Good Morning

Here I am...volunteering today. I'm sitting at the volunteer desk at the AIDS Foundation until one, and then I'm playing at the Children's Hospital from 2-3. How did I suddenly end up with all this volunteer work? Not that I'm complaining, mind you. I'm very happy to have something to fill up my day...for whatever reason it motivates me to do more...for instance, this morning I started working on my taxes...but when it got into school tuition and scholarship and interest, I got brain freeze and saved it to come back to later.

This morning I tried to pretend I was living in a real city, and decided to walk to Starbucks and get my latte...unfortunately, Starbucks is about 7 blocks (14 round trip) out of the way from where I was going...so I had to leave 45 minutes earlier than I wanted to. But believe it or not, I saw somebody reading the New York Times in there...not a very common site here in Arkansas.

Also, please note my very cute piano tie shirt. Thank you. I'm wearing it for the first time today.



I guess this post probably will be of no interested whatsoever to those who don't watch the show...but what in the world are they trying to do to us? As if there weren't enough unanswered questions already...do they really have to spend two entire episodes posing more? If it wasn't enough for us to not know what the smoke monster is, what the numbers mean, what the island even is, who Richard Alpert is, what on Earth the deal with Claire is (is she even still a character?), if Benjamin Linus and Charles Widemore ever tell the truth (and what exactly their relationship is)...now we have to wonder what happened to Aaron, who beat up Benjamin Linus, who that butcher lady is, why is Eloise Hawking worth killing somebody over, why everyone boarding that plane...and we have to deal with a new batch of 10 million characters who just crashed on the island...and apparently the Oceanique 6 all ended up in different points in time when they went back to the island.

Geez. I'm confused now.

For those of you who are just starting out watching LOST, take this as a warning, that is only gets more and more complicated every episode. I'm too involved now to stop.


Thank You Moby

Today the Sturgis Quartet took another trip down to Hot Springs...it seems like its the only place we go these days. Not that I'm complaining, its just about an hour drive time, which beats driving to places like Yellville (which was over three hours away). I do have reason to complain however...after we made our usual stop at Starbucks, my pants got caught on some random metal bar when I was getting in to Moby (the ASO van) and ended up a little on the ripped side (as you can see in the picture). Luckily they were (are?) my back-up/extra pair of dress pants...but still, I wear them all the time!! And yes...I had to do the whole demo with my leg showing through my pants...I'm surprised I didn't get any questions about it at the end...just my quartet-mates laughing at me.



Today I am volunteering at the Arkansas Aids Foundation. Its kind of exciting because I get a desk and answer the phone and direct calls. I guess its really not all that exciting. But it is nice to have something to do...its right across the street from my apartment, so they call me when a regular volunteer doesn't show up...and it seems like I might become a regular on Monday mornings. Which happens to be a symphony day off.

We are playing Beethoven 9 this week...which happens to be one of my favorite pieces to play. It was my first concert when I joined the Chicago Youth Symphony, back when I was a sophomore in high school, and we played it two summers ago at Tanglewood...its such an amazing piece, and is always so much fun to play. So I'm expecting to have a very nice week...thank you very much.

I did watch to Oscars last night. Perhaps this year I will make more of an effort to actually see more of the movies. I only saw Slumdog...which happened to win best pic. Go me.



So apparently the Oscars are on tonight...I really had no idea until my mom told me. Well, maybe I kind of knew, but just didn't really care all that much. I remember just a few years ago I was very involved in the Oscars and movies in general...so much so that I would make sure to see every movie that was possibly going to be considered for an award (sometimes multiple times). It was much easier back then as I had a membership to the Little Theatre, in Rochester, NY, which was always playing all the best movies and I could go there for free on Sundays.

This year I saw very few movies in the theater...and Slumdog Millionaire is the only one up for any awards that I'm aware of (Role Models and Mama Mia were not really up to snuff to win an oscar I think). I'm not sure if I'm even going to watch or not...well, if I'm not doing anything, which is likely, I probably will. Last year I didn't see them since I was traveling to Rochester and ran into major problems with Airtran...while the Oscars were on I was driving from Buffalo to Rochester in a rental car with a random guy and his daughter. And the year before I don't remember what I was practicing for, but I was practicing for something during to commercials. Possibly my masters recital?? hmmmm.


I Believe

Cher believes in life after love:

The Chipmunks believe they can fly:


Hello Hot Spings

Yesterday, my quartet did six demos at a school in Hot Springs, AR. Its the first time in a looong time when I really put in a full days worth of work. As an orchestral musician, its usually just random stuff here and there and it doesn't often make me very busy...but yesterday morning, we met at 8am and drove down to Hot Springs (where Bill Clinton grew up) and did six Images of America demos. It actually turned out to be kind of fun...although I was getting ADD for the last three and kept doing crazy stuff during Fig Lead Rag...just to see what I could get away with. Oops.

We also got about an hour to check out Hot Springs and grab some lunch (the downtown area was right down the street from the school). HS is actually a pretty nice town...we ate at Cafe 1217 which was pretty good, and ended up grabbing coffee at a place on Bathouse Row (where all of the baths with the hot springs are...duh)...pictured above, it happens to be the only picture I took, Oops.

During question time one girl asked me if I had a wife that played music as well. Not exactly a question I was expecting.



I'm a little bit confused as to why they never show LOST at the correct time here in Arkansas. I guess the show is just not remotely popular here and Arkansans prefer to watch college basketball. Which is always what they seem to show instead. Rather than just pushing LOST back an hour or so, they continue with regularly scheduled programming, including all the news and the late shows...and then LOST comes on at 12:30am or 1:30am or even sometimes 2:30am. This makes no sense to me. I have made some attempts to watch LOST at its late night airtime here...I usually fall asleep before it comes on, but once I actually made it to 1:30am, fell asleep right before it started, and woke up in the final moments. I was very annoyed and I have just given up trying to watch it since then and just visit abc.com the next day and watch in on my computer. Lame I know. In case you haven't seen lost before...here is a little summary of the first three seasons...you'll have to watch 4 if you want to get caught up all the way.


I just wanted to share with you that I listened to Elliott Carter's Sonata for Flute, Oboe, Cello, and Harpsichord tonight as background music when I made some soup (and ate it). I found it to be quite delightful. I'm wondering if this makes me "not normal." Please let me know. I couldn't find a video of this piece on youtube...so please enjoy Norman Fischer (my most recent teacher!!!) performing the 4th movement of the Carter Cello Sonata (at Rice). I also find this piece equally delightful. I know, I'm strange.


Hello Pine Bluff

Since I have decided to really get back to blogging, this means that you will be forced to read about my regular everyday life which includes driving to random towns and villages all over Arkansas presenting one of two programs about the string quartet. Today's program was "Papa Haydn" and we drove to the not-so-far-away town of Pine Bluff to present it.

I had been down to Pine Bluff one time earlier this year to play the Messiah at the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff...admittedly, its not the nicest place in the world. According to wikipedia, Pine Bluff is the 7th largest city in Arkansas, but used to be 2nd largest and one of the most wealthy in the state. It is not anymore. Its very run-down, and not very pleasant.

As for the demo, it went pretty well, only one class was a bit on the noisy side, which I'm never very good and controlling. Say "shhhhh" and "quiet down" didn't have much effect, but it didn't really seem like the teachers had much control over it either. At one point the principal of the school came in and interrupted our presentation to say he wished that some musicians would volunteer to teach music for free at his school. We were kind of surprised he did that...and he didn't even stay for the presentation. Hmmmm.

I forgot to take a picture today, so I have included a photo of the Arkansas Symphony van...which the symphony members have nicknames Moby. We drive Moby to every demo and I dread it every time...I really dislike driving big cars. It makes me uncomfortable.


Presidential Rankings

C-Span released a list today of how a group of 65-historians thought all of the presidents ranked up. Abe Lincoln scored the top spot (just like he did back in 2000 when they last compiled the list). Bush is not surprisingly near the bottom of the list, ranked at No. 36 (should be lowed if you ask me)...of course I haven't really been alive long enough to accurately judge these rankings...I really only remember Dubya and Bill (who ranked No. 15...jumping up from 21 in 2000)...I wasn't born when Reagan was elected, and only 5 when the first Bush was elected...so I'm hardly an expert.

I found that there are actually lots of different opinions on this issue (well, duh)...and you can see them all compiled in a fairly large chart in a wikipedia entry. There are always the same ones at the top, obviously, but its interesting to see what everyone thinks. I trust Barack will work his way to the top of the list shortly.

Mardi Brawl

Yesterday I attended my first roller derby bout. I had never seen anybody play roller derby before, or even heard anything about it...but Charlie's friend Megan was playing her first real match, so we went to support her. For those of you who don't know, roller derby consists of a bunch of girls skating around in circles in a pack...with two girls skating much faster (called the jammers). They go round and round and round and beat each other up and push each other on the floor and shove each other off the track and kneel down and let others trip over them. Its quite brutal.

I couldn't tell you how the scoring works...something about the first jammer to get in front of "the pack" is able to score each time they get around the track...but every time I tried to count how many points they scored, I was waaaay off. There are also penalties for violence, but for some reason or other, nobody ever gets called out on them, no matter what kind of awful things they do. Imagine that.

Each girl also has a very cute little nickname...such as Coco Booty, or Slaymaker, or Covalent Bondage. Those were all girls from the Little Rock team...and yes, we got totally killed. I think the ending score was something like 115 to 40 (we were playing Fort Smith). But what do you expect when the team prides themselves on not playing "too dirty"...it seems to me that its a pretty dirty game...hmmmm.

The whole thing seemed pretty Arkansas white trash to me. I didn't know they even made roller skates anymore.


Quick Question

How did this: Become this??



As I have no real news to report. I would like to leave you with this image of meat as cooked by my dad on Christmas. Thank you.


Hello Again

Ok ok...its been over a month, but I think I'm finally ready to get back into this whole blogging thing. Famous last words, right??? Well, here goes, all sorts of crazy stuff has been going on.

I spent last week playing with the New Worlds Symphony in Miami Beach. I thought it would be nice to spend a week in Miami and see a ton of friends I hadn't seen in a while...but I ended up totally loving the orchestra. It was concerto week (we played seven concertos on two concerts...5 of them violin concertos) and it was great to play with Martin and KCB (yay Rice/Tanglewood!!)...all of the soloists sounded great. It was nice to have a dinner invitation every night I was there and to catch up with so many old (and new) friends. And yes....I'm doing the audition in a few weeks.

In other news...the Arkansas Symphony is having some trouble...we heard a rumor that the Sturgis Quartet (the one I play in) was going to be disbanded at the end of the season...and then the rumor became fact, and then the players committee freaked, and then the administration took it back...and then the executive director resigned and they kind of forgot about Sturgis. So now it looks like we will still have our jobs for next season...but nobody is really sure about anything. I don't think the orchestra is in the best situation: no music director, no executive director and financial problems...oops. But all seems to be running smoothly now. According to people who have been in the orchestra for a while, this happens all the time and they never end up getting rid of Sturgis...but keep threatening too. I'm sure it will happen eventually. Maybe not.

We are playing a Mancini concert this week...its kind of fun...kind of boring at the same time. A few weeks ago we played Shostakovich 5th Symphony...which was probably the best I've ever heard the Arkansas Symphony sound before. Still not as good as Tanglewood or Rice...but fun to play with. For a change.

I was actually starting to get used to Little Rock...the trip to Miami came at the perfect time, because I realized how many things I really don't like about LR. Its so easy to just get used to your surroundings and be happy with them...even if they totally suck.


A List

  1. I am back in Little Rock and have been for a few days.
  2. Symphony starts again next week...I just had a few odds and ends this week.
  3. We are playing Shosti 5 and Brahms Double Concerto. I really like both of those pieces.
  4. My quartet is working on submitting our rep list for next season.
  5. I requested Carter Quartets...I doubt we will get to play one.
  6. But we will probably be doing a late Beethoven...I've never done one before.
  7. I'm playing a gig in El Dorado, AR this weekend...that should be exciting.
  8. I got a Dr. Beat, a baking pan, the new Harry Potter book, and a GPS from my parents and a cool candle thing from Mira for Christmas/Hanukkah.
  9. I start my car with a screwdriver now.
  10. I really hope that CCE will get to go to Norfolk this summer.