27. February 2008 · Comments Off on Too Darn Fun! · Categories: Videos, Watch

Gotta Dance!

With shopping carts. (Or “trolleys”.)


I just found this charming. And I’ll bet those people had lots of fun doing it, too!

Here is a good blog entry about auditions. If you want to know what musicians are up against, read it. Jason Heath has written about the cruel and unusual punishment as well (including a post about his horrible experience with San Jose Symphony —for some reason I feel to blame, which is so darn pathetic and typical of me! Why, oh why do I feel guilty for things with which I have nothing to do?!), and you can read what Elaine Douvas had to write about the issue too.

Ah, auditions. Such a curse. Nearly as bad as making reeds. Or no … I take it back! … WORSE.

I’m thankful I landed my little jobs early on, and that even with the death of San Jose Symphony, which I joined in 1975 and stuck with until it failed in, I think, 2002, I managed to sort of “deal”, due to the creation of Symphony Silicon Valley. (Sure, we have a LOT fewer services, but it’s better than nothing. I think.) I had one audition with San Francisco Symphony eons ago. I didn’t play well and, to be quite honest, I wasn’t even close to prepared for it. Now I don’t plan on auditions. I’m 51. I have work. I love what I do. And I would not love to do an audition. So there you go.

But for all those who deal with this horrendous punishment we call auditions, you have my admiration. And sympathy.

In Other News
… and sort of an audition too, eh .. I gave up on American Idol. I simply couldn’t stand it any more. I thought I’d manage to muddle through, but bad singing is bad singing and I don’t have the tolerance for it. Bad judging is also bad judging and so just never mind about that show. It’s a waste of my time.

27. February 2008 · Comments Off on I Won’t Win An Oscar · Categories: Ramble

… but yesterday I was put on film. I really was. But no biggie, to be honest; UCSC had to videotape a few lessons for my review.

This sort of thing is nothing stressful to me. Maybe it’s not to most musicians who spend time on the stage. I simply don’t pay attention to a camera. I’m there to teach. So I teach.

Truth be told, today was a rather good day. Students sounded fine. I was feeling good. And now I can check one more thing off the list … and I believe I’ve finished everything else for the review as well. It all gets turned in next week. Then it’s up to the powerful people; I continue at UCSC or I don’t. (I don’t have any reason to be fearful, but of course I AM an oboist so a bit ‘o worry will probably creep in.)

Last Week …
I neglected to mention this: I went to UCSC’s orchestra concert last Friday night and they did an excellent job! Bravi tutti to everyone, and of course special mentions to Daniela, Becky, Max, Sylvia, Kevin AND … kudos to Sara and her conducting as well as Sam and his wonderful soloing on the Elgar Cello Concerto. Woo hoo!

27. February 2008 · Comments Off on Why I Don’t Do It This Way · Categories: Links, Ramble

Blogging at its freest is like going to a masked ball. You can say all the spiteful, infantile things you wouldn’t dream of saying if you were in print or face to face with another human being. You can flirt with anyone, or try to. You can tell the President exactly what you think of him. You can have political opinions your friends would despise you for. You can even libel people you don’t like and hide behind an alias. (It’s very hard to get back at anonymous bloggers who defame you because, by an act of Congress, Web site administrators aren’t liable for what’s written on their sites. And erasing anything on the Web is almost impossible.) You can assume a new identity and see how it flies—no strings attached.

Read here

(And may I say right off the bat that I’m sort of hesitant to link to this because … well … looks like I’m playing the game or something. Silly me.)

I don’t care for anonymous blogs. I tend not to read them. I like accountability. Anonymity seems … dare I say it? … cowardly. (Sorry to you anons out there, but I am just being my old honest self.)

Uh-oh. I’m probably in trouble now. 🙁

26. February 2008 · Comments Off on Former OSJ Artist in Residence · Categories: Links, Ramble

When I see a name I recognize, and see that a former Opera San José singer is getting work, I always want to cheer. The instrumentalist’s life might be a bit difficult, but I think the singer’s life is much more difficult.

So hoorah for Jason Detwiler. I see his picture here, and he’s singing Eugene Onegin with Virginia Opera. (We do this opera next year, and I’m looking forward to performing it again!)

I see, too, that he’ll be singing with Santa Cruz Chamber Orchestra on April 6. Well rats! I was going to play that job (although not on the Fauré—no oboe!), but it turns out I’ll be in SoCal doing wedding stuff then. Such is life.

Jason was one of my faves in Opera San José. So yay for him.

Since the Merc finally announced it, I guess I can post this too. No comments for now. Perhaps later ….

Symphony Silicon Valley
2008-09 Season Preview

Amram Barber Beethoven Berlioz Brahms Debussy Dvorak
Ellington Ginestera Guilmant Haydn Mendelssohn Prokofiev
Respighi Schubert Shostakovich Tchaikovsky

Symphony Silicon Valley’s seventh season, announced today, will include eight programs performed from September 2008 to June 2009. The season will open with dance music from three continents — South America, North America and Europe – including Duke Ellington’s The River. A season highlight is the first concerto to be commissioned for pianist and local icon Jon Nakamatsu, composed by David Amram and scheduled for January 2009. Jon Kimura Parker will perform Shostakovich’s First Piano Concerto in May and Jonas Nordwall will showcase the California Theatre organ in late March, performing Guilmant’s first Organ Symphony.

The season also features two Beethoven symphonies and two major concertos for violin: Mendelssohn’s Violin Concerto performed by Associate Concertmaster Christina Mok in October, and Brahms’ Violin Concerto with returning powerhouse Ju-Young Baek in March, 2009. Tchaikovsky’s Fourth Symphony features in December as Symphony Silicon Valley’s second presentation in the innovative ‘Beyond the Score’ format, pioneered by the Chicago Symphony. Four conductors will return for the season, including George Cleve and Paul Polivnick with two programs apiece, while two new conductors will join the Symphony’s roster.

2008-09 season ticket renewals begin in early March, with new subscriptions on sale in April. Season ticket prices range from $568 for an 8-concert package in the Dress Circle or Grand Tier, to $132 for a 4-concert package in the Side Orchestra or Side Mezzanine.

Program 1: Dances at an Opening
Saturday, Sept. 27, 2008 at 8:00 pm Sunday, Sept. 28, 2008 at 2:30 pm
Conductor: Leslie Dunner
Alberto Ginastera Four Dances from Estancia
Duke Ellington The River Suite
Serge Prokofiev Suite from Romeo & Juliet
An irresistible sampling of dance music from three 20th century masters. Prokofiev’s dramatic Romeo & Juliet, one of the most expressive of all ballet scores, sweeps us from the pageantry and menace of two warring families to the passion and heartbreak of young lovers. We begin with dances from Ginastera’s high-spirited ballet about gauchos’ life on the Argentine pampas. Duke Ellington’s jazz-infused suite follows, drawn from his ballet for the great dancer/choreographer Alvin Ailey. Leslie Dunner, Music Director of Joffrey Ballet, makes his third appearance with the Symphony.

Program 2: Mendelssohn & Beethoven
Thursday, Oct. 16, 2008 at 7:30 pm Saturday, Oct. 18, 2008 at 8:00 pm Sunday, Oct. 19, 2008 at 2:30 pm
Conductor: George Cleve
Soloist: Christina Mok, violin
Ludwig van Beethoven Symphony No. 1 in C major
Felix Mendelssohn Violin Concerto in E minor
Claude Debussy La Mer

Associate Concertmaster Christina Mok performs Mendelssohn’s supremely demanding Violin Concerto, the melody-filled centerpiece of a program led by Maestro George Cleve. Cleve opens with Beethoven’s First Symphony, written at the peak of the composer’s youthful classicism and instantly hailed as a masterpiece; and concludes with Debussy’s brilliant, rule-breaking invocation to all the colors and moods of the sea.

Program 3: Beyond The Score: Tchaikovsky’s 4th
Saturday, Dec. 6, 2008 at 8:00 pm Sunday, Dec. 7, 2008 at 2:30 pm
Conductor: Paul Polivnick
Piotr Tchaikovsky Symphony No. 4 in F minor

“Be ready to experience much, much more than a pre-concert lecture and musical offering.” (New York Times) Paul Polivnick conducts Tchaikovsky’s Symphony No. 4 in a novel format pioneered by the Chicago Symphony. “The program’s first half …grabs and rivets (you) with a highly developed multimedia presentation that swells anticipation.” After the intermission comes the full symphony, a “19th century Russian music drama to rival the great literary dramas of Pushkin and Tolstoy;” — and a familiar favorite becomes an exciting discovery.

Program 4: A Nakamatsu Premiere
Thursday, Jan. 15, 2009 at 7:30 pm Saturday, Jan. 17, 2009 at 8:00 pm Sunday, Jan. 18, 2009 at 2:30 pm
Conductor: Paul Polivnick
Soloist: Jon Nakamatsu, piano
Franz Joseph Haydn Symphony No. 95 in C minor
David Amram Piano Concerto No. 1
commissioned by William and Marie Bianco
Ottorino Respighi Feste romane

Maestro Polivnick returns for the premiere of the first piano concerto to be commissioned expressly for international star and local favorite Jon Nakamatsu, written by world-music master David Amram. The concert begins with Symphony No. 95, one of the twelve extraordinary ‘London’ symphonies that capped Haydn’s career and helped change how music was heard. To conclude, a huge orchestra performs Respighi’s spectacular musical panorama of Roman public celebrations across the ages, from the Circus of classical Rome to the barrel-organs and barkers of Respighi’s own day.

Program 5: The Organ & the Great C
Saturday, March 14, 2009 at 8:00 pm Sunday, March 15, 2009 at 2:30 pm
Conductor: Paul Haas
Soloist: Jonas Nordwall, organ
Samuel Barber Adagio for Strings
Felix Alexandre Guilmant Organ Symphony No. 1
Franz Schubert Symphony No. 9 – the Great C Major.
A double Symphony debut. The California Theatre organ’s commanding classical range is shown off by internationally acclaimed organist Jonas Nordwall in a powerful work by French virtuoso Guilmant. We also introduce rising young conductor Paul Haas, praised for his ‘fiery brilliance’ and ‘bold, muscular, go-for-broke conducting,’ to lead Schubert’s magnificent Ninth Symphony, the ‘Great’ C Major. The concert opens with Barber’s haunting Adagio for Strings, a favorite ever since its premiere by radio broadcast in 1938.

Program 6: Brahms & Dvorak
Thursday, Mar. 26, 2009 at 7:30 pm Saturday, Mar. 28, 2009 at 8:00 pm Sunday, Mar. 29, 2009 at 2:30 pm
Conductor: George Cleve
Soloists: Ju-Young Baek, violin
Hector Berlioz Le carnaval romain
Johannes Brahms Violin Concerto in D major
Antonin Dvorak Symphony No. 9 – From the New World

A celebrated Brahms interpreter, George Cleve leads prize-winning Korean violinist Ju-Young Baek in her third appearance with Symphony Silicon Valley, performing the concerto critics call “the most sublime essay for violin and orchestra ever written.” The concert begins in a jubilant mood with our second nod to Italian high spirits: Berlioz’ lively and lyrical Le carnaval romain. Maestro Cleve then turns to another giant: Dvorak’s triumphant New World Symphony, a thoroughly European work that is remains the best loved symphony ever composed in America.

Program 7: Spring Symphonies
Thursday, May 7, 2009 at 7:30 pm Saturday, May 9, 2009 at 8:00 pm Sunday, May 10, 2009 at 2:30 pm
Conductor: Gregory Vajda
Soloist: Jon Kimura Parker, piano
Dmitri Shostakovich Symphony No. 9 in E-flat major
Dmitri Shostakovich Piano Concerto No. 1 in C minor
Ludwig van Beethoven Symphony No. 4 in B-flat major
Shostakovich’s quick-fire, sunny-tempered piano concerto is performed by the dazzling Jon Kimura Parker, who brings “gargantuan technique, awesome timing, oceanic depth, volcanic fire, and more fun than the whole Marx Brother’s catalog” to his Symphony debut. Audiences do not ‘so much erupt as spontaneously explode’ for this pianist; we are in for a treat. Returning conductor Gregory Vajda welcomes Spring with Shostakovich’s popular 9th Symphony, called by the composer himself “a merry little piece.” Beethoven’s buoyant Fourth Symphony concludes our tribute to the season.

Program 8: Lord Nelson Mass
Saturday, June 6, 2009 at 8:00pm Sunday, June 7, 2009 at 2:30pm
Conductor: Jane Glover
Soloists: to be announced
Choir: Symphony Silicon Valley Chorale (Elena Sharkova – Music Director)
Serge Prokofiev Symphony No. 1 Classical Symphony
Piotr Tchaikovsky Serenade for Strings
Franz Joseph Haydn Lord Nelson Mass
A perfect match between conductor and concert program. Eminent British maestra Jane Glover is a much recorded orchestral, opera and choral conductor with a special love for Mozart and Haydn. Under her baton, the orchestra, soloists and Symphony Chorale join forces in Haydn’s glorious Lord Nelson Mass, written during the turmoil of the Napoleonic wars and hailed as Haydn’s “greatest single composition.” Glover completes the program with Prokofiev’s Classical Symphony, a salute to the Haydn tradition, and Serenade, Tchaikovsky’s deeply-felt homage to Mozart, which he called ‘a piece from the heart.’

For more information contact: Andrew Bales, Symphony Silicon Valley 408 286-2600 ext. 2

26. February 2008 · Comments Off on Musical Dreams · Categories: Dreams, Ramble

… or would it be operatic dreams? Hard to say.

“Recover, recover, recover. Sometimes you’ve got to recover.”

Great lyrics, eh? 😉

But really, why am I dreaming this singin’ stuff? It was a male chorus that was singing. I was in the group, though. We were marching (the song sounded somewhat like a civil war song) to my house to rescue someone who needed help. At first it was just one person and me, but as we walked (crossing Bascom toward City College, in case any of you are wondering where I was — we had a bit of distance to cover) others could be seen marching too.

Then I woke up.

So who was I rescuing? What was I fighting? And recover from what?!

Heck if I know.

I do know I have a headache. I do know I leave for UCSC pretty soon. I do know I have most of my review papers ready to go. I don’t know if today I’ll be videotaped for my UCSC review. I know the cameraman was notified, but I never heard if he’d be able to do it today or not.

Quick! Where’s my makeup artist? Just in case ….

26. February 2008 · Comments Off on MQOD · Categories: Quotes

Have you thought of translating it into Latin, so you won’t have to listen to the words?

-Stephen Sondheim (regarding Bernstein’s’ Mass, according to this)

25. February 2008 · Comments Off on Going Green · Categories: Links, Ramble

Here is an article about local arts groups going green. No mention is made of all the paper used for programs. I’ve thought about this a lot … so much paper. So many get tossed. Would there be a better way?

I know we all want to read about the performers and the music. I know, too, that the advertising brings in the bucks. But I do wonder about the waste. I’m just not sure there’s a good solution for the time being.

So some clarinetists can do anything. Whoa.

For instance … he STOLE the oboe solo. How dare he? 😉

Too bad the guy can’t play high notes, eh?

(Part Two)