23. May 2008 · Comments Off · Categories: Musical Theatre, Ramble

I went to the pizza party after the show tonight. They have one of these for every show, inviting cast and crew. I go. I eat one slice of pizza. I find one or two other musicians and stand in some corner of the room and yak for a while. It’s noisy, so I have to talk loudly, and my throat always hurts. Then I leave before nearly anyone else. And I always wonder, “Why did I go to that?!”

And I have no answer.

I’m not good at parties. And I’m exhausted after a show. I don’t know any of the cast, I’m not one who wants to connect with the “stars”, and they certainly aren’t interested in talking to orchestra members. We have nothing in common, aside from a show. With this show I don’t even recognize most of the cast, since I only saw them in our first “singers included” rehearsal (do they call that a sitzprobe for musicals too, or just opera?) and then the first few staged rehearsals. Then they covered the pit and we became disconnected from them.

So now I’m home, and I’m even more tired than I normally am. Wouldn’t you know?

Ooh. I’m whining. Sorry! I think it’s the smoke. We have some fires in our Santa Cruz Mountains and I’m very weary of inhaling this smoke.

So good news: the main reed was a happy camper. The second reed—used for louder parts that don’t matter quite so much—was being a bit rebellious. Maybe its just angry about being second. I wonder. But since it doesn’t matter so much (sorry, second!) I really don’t care. As long as I get the solos and don’t make any errors that the audience would notice I’m just fine and dandy.

23. May 2008 · Comments Off · Categories: Links, Opera

I just learned that, some time ago, I missed Worf in the audience at Opera San Jose.

Wouldn’t you know?

23. May 2008 · Comments Off · Categories: Birthdays!

Happy Birthday to composer Jean Francaix …

… and to Alicia de Larrocha as well …

(sorry, no slow movement … how could they leave the best out?)

23. May 2008 · Comments Off · Categories: Links, Ramble

The competitors will undergo training as conductors, then will be judged by a panel of judges and orchestra members on how they perform when conducting.

Yep. “Get real” as in “reality TV”. Too bad it’s in the UK. We don’t get these particular reality shows. No conductors, no opera singers. Just pop stuff. Rats.

I read it here. (And no, I’d never heard of Blur before.)

What I’d really love is for them to all try being oboe players. Or, better yet, how about conductors attempting to become oboe players. Now that would be fun!

When my oboe teacher moved from San Jose to Pleasanton, my mother drove me to the lessons. I never heard her complain. Pleasanton is about 40 miles from where I lived. She also drove my brother to his bassoon lessons in San Francisco, which is about 50 miles away.

I just received a phone call from someone who wanted oboe lessons. But I am too far away. They live in Saratoga, which is about 9 miles away from here.

In some ways our world has gotten a lot smaller, but to a lot o parents I live too far away when the drive is only about 15 minutes. Go figure.

I wasn’t at all rude to the woman, but I did laugh when she said I was too far away. It just burst out—I couldn’t help myself.

Oh well.

She then asked for other recommendations. Heh. As if there are oboists 5 or 10 minutes away from anyone who wants lessons. Ya think?

It does make me thankful for my La Honda student and her parents (somewhere around 35 miles). No complaints from them, and the come here nearly every Saturday. In addition I have a student who lives in Morgan Hill (23 miles or so). Thank you to Hannah and Alex and your parents for nary a complaint and for your diligence! :-)

23. May 2008 · Comments Off · Categories: News

Iraq’s national symphony plays for unity in first major performance in years – UN

21 May 2008 – The Iraqi National Symphony Orchestra (INSO) today gave a concert in Baghdad to promote unity and dialogue, its first significant performance in years, the United Nations announced.
More than 400 people attended the performance, held to commemorate the World Day for Cultural Diversity, for Dialogue and Development. It was also broadcast live on Iraqi television.

The concert, organized by the UN Assistance Mission for Iraq (UNAMI), was the first of its kind in the war-torn Middle Eastern nation and was held under both the UN emblem and the Iraqi flag.

Intended to remind the world of what Iraqis can offer and to preserve the country’s cultural heritage, the orchestra’s Iraqi and classical repertoire was selected from culturally diverse folklore, both Arab and Kurdish, along with traditional tunes and classical concertos.

Part of the concert – which was addressed by Staffan de Mistura, head of UNAMI, and Mahmoud al-Mashhadani, Iraqi Speaker of Parliament – was conducted by Iraqi cellist and the Orchestra’s Director Karim Wasfi, while the other portion was led by renowned international conductor Oliver Gilmour.

“Without culture a country will literally pack up,” Mr. Gilmour, the first guest conductor to be invited since before United States-led forces invaded in 2003, told UN Radio, underscoring the crucial role played by the arts.

He said that a concert such as this is a source of price and “engenders a feeling of quasi-normality.”

The conductor paid tribute to the orchestra’s members, who represent different sects and ethnicities and who have faced danger in attending rehearsals. “In many ways what they do is inspirational and it illustrates, I think, their indomitable spirit and the power of music,” he observed.

(This is the entire article I found here)