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!