Our 1997 Editor’s Prize winner, Anne Miano, was also an author who had not been previously published. “The Oboist” features a narrator who is, to begin with, a violist. As her skills progressively improve, attention is increasingly focused on her. As a result, she develops a tremor that makes violin playing impossible. She stutters and is forced to recite Hamlet at the kitchen table. She leaves her violin and takes up the oboe, grateful that it is “virtually impossible to have a solo career as a concert oboist.” Her domineering mother who dreams Julia will one day be center stage as a premier violinist never forgives her, but Julia is happy in her anonymity. Or rather, she is safe. That is until a neighbor begins eavesdropping while she practices. He leaves notes of praise and Julia’s tremor returns. Her borderline agoraphobia forces her to leave her position at the New York Philharmonic and take a position with an orchestra in California. There she lives in blissful solitude until she encounters Margaret and Walter, two unconventional shepherds who gather the lonely and forgotten and feed them tuna casserole and offer them a space in which to be their own imperfect selves.

Download it here.

Is that confusing? She is a violist (I suspect that actually a typo), playing violin, who switches to oboe and manages to play in the New York Phil? You gotta be kidding me!

Guess tha’ts why it’s called fiction.

Today went well, and I was pleased with my playing. How’s THAT for positive? Not your typical pattylist of “all the things I didn’t like about what I did.”

Yes. Even I can occasionally be optimistic. ;-)

28. September 2008 · Comments Off · Categories: Ramble

The head and the heart are two very different things.

Intellectually I know certain things. But man my heart sure says differently.

I’m just sayin’.

I’ve had my fair share of parents who wanted to participate in lessons. I’ve learned to be very clear, “Students and the teacher may talk. Parents may not.” I’ve had to say it more than once. But I rarely have to repeat it to the same parent. But once parents have sat in the studio for a few lessons I also let them now they then must move to the living room. I leave my studio door open, and they can easily hear me and their child so they needn’t worry that I’ll be abusive. They are welcome to drop by on occasion, but the studio is, primarily, for the student and me.

I wonder if I would have lost Lang Lang as a student if I had told his father my rule. I find this article a tad frightening!

And then there’s this:

But as stage parents go, Lang Guoren isn’t the worst. During lessons, Graffman said, “he sat in the corner very quietly, and at no point interfered. There were a few nice occasions when I’d make suggestions and you could see the father smiling.”

“The problem wasn’t his attitude but the tone he set for other parents. It became more competitive,” said Curtis’ dean, Robert Fitzpatrick, recently. “We’ve made it clear, we’ve posted signs, that parents are welcome in our building but not upstairs in the studios or in rehearsals unless specifically invited by a faculty member. … They want to protect their own children, but they also spy on others to compare talents.”

Yikes! And did he really tell his son to kill himself? Ouch. It’s only music, folks.

And now … I think it’s time to see if my stomach can actually handle some food. Going to a concert without eating isn’t a good idea. So far I’ve not thought I could deal with food, but I think maybe I can deal now. We’ll see!

28. September 2008 · Comments Off · Categories: Ramble

I hope I’m not getting sick. I hope I’m only feeling crummy because I should never go to after concert receptions and then get to bed so long after my bedtime.

I suppose I’ll find out soon enough, eh? Meanwhile I guess I’d better try to go back to sleep because I don’t feel terribly good. :-(

28. September 2008 · Comments Off · Categories: Ramble, Symphony

I’m home from the symphony concert. Actually I’ve been home for a bit. But I did stay for the reception, so I was home an hour later than my usual time.

The concert went fine. At least in my little world. I didn’t like a few things I did, but the one bigger solo I had (in the Ellington) was enjoyable and I think I did a good job.

Every time I go to a reception I’m reminded of why I shouldn’t go to receptions; I’m not a social sort, and I find them very difficult, and I think I make a pretty big fool of myself. I don’t know how to talk to people I don’t know unless they approach me first. If they do that, I’m fine. But I’m not like a friend of mine who is quite at ease with going up to an audience member and yakking. And I’m not comfortable attempting to eat and stand at the same time — yeah, I’m a klutz — so this time I just skewered a couple of marshmallows (yes, really … marshmallows!) and held them in the chocolate fountain and ate those. Then I had some champagne. And didn’t have any more food because holding a glass of champagne, talking, and holding a plate of food is just an extreme challenge for this silly person. So I leave a bit hungry. When I get home I tend to go over two things: any playing I did that didn’t make me happy (two places in this concert) and anything I said at the reception that was foolish (too numerous to count).

So I should play concerts and go straight home. Really.

Now if I could just read this blog entry before the next concert that has a reception. Maybe I’d take my own advice. You know?

One more concert tomorrow. It’s always so different than doing opera, where the run goes on and on. We do these SSV concerts two or three times, and everything fits in seven days or less (this concert is in five). Time flies for symphony.

Hmmm. I’m not nearly as depressed as this blog entry comes across. Honest and true! :-)